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Review: Time4Learning

 

 

As I mentioned earlier, we have been trying out Time4Learning free for a month in order to review it.  Our month is finished, and all three of the children have learned a fair bit.  They also have some strong opinions to share.

Summary

Time4Learning is an interactive online learning package for Preschool to Grade 8.  It covers language arts and math for all levels and also includes social studies, history, art, and language art extensions as well as a motivating games ‘playground.’

Description

When the child logs in, he can choose to work on any of his subjects.  Each of these subjects is made up of a large number of interactive lessons in which wacky characters, TV show format, and popular music combine to teach vocabulary, math skills and more.  As much fun as possible is injected into the learning process.  For example, games help a child with phonics and sight words and are also used to teach algebra concepts. 

Time4Learning remembers what a student has done so that it is easy to choose the next lesson.  If he wishes to skip ahead to the quiz, that is also possible.   

Children can move up or down a grade level in any of their subjects, so the program is easy to adapt.

The parent site allows parents to determine how long children need to study before they have access to the ‘playground,’ a group of enjoyable computer games.  From the child’s site, parents can examine detailed records of what a child has done and how well he did.  In fact, by clicking on the mark a student earned on a quiz, you can see—and print—the entire quiz, with the student’s correct and wrong answers marked.  As well, parents can preview lessons ahead of time.

Time4Learning also has a parent forum.  Among other helpful information, it includes a growing list of lessons some Christian parents find objectionable.  Although the list is brief, I applaud the attempt of a secular education provider to meet the needs of its Christian customers. 

program structure

Our Experiences with Time4Learning

Our girls were enrolled in grades 2, 5, and 8 and we aimed for approximately an hour of work a day. 

Miss 12, who worked primarily on the algebra option in grade 8, did not enjoy this program at all.  She said the teaching component was too slow-paced. Her solution was to review and learn her algebra using the program’s resource pages rather than the teaching component, although that frustrated her too.  She was able to challenge the quizzes rather than sitting through the program’s teaching component, and this worked well for her. I was very pleased with her progress since she finished more than half of Honors Algebra, reviewing and learning a great deal of important material in a new format. 

Miss 10 worked on the grade 5 curriculum, concentrating on both math and language arts.   She said that the teaching characters wasted her time.  I sat with her and watched how Time4Learning tried to teach long division.  Now, I know I’m a lousy teacher of long division; just ask my older kids.  But Time4Learning was even less clear than I am!  The vocabulary section involved a lot of acting and silliness to present just a few words.  But it was the practice state assessment that really grabbed my attention.  In this test Miss 10 was given a simple passage with comprehension questions. And such passage!  During an airplane trip, dad slept with his head on his youngster’s shoulder, drooling.  The pair was flying to Chad to hunt for fossils, and they found a skull that could perhaps be the missing link….  I was proud of how Miss 10 identified questionable concepts, but I feel sorry for children who are taught and tested with such twaddle rather than with the many available children’s classics.  (Now, this may be a problem with the US state assessments themselves rather than with Time4Learning; being Canadian, I wouldn’t know. )  Miss 10’s favorite part of her study hour was the playground, a collection of games that she was allowed to enjoy after finishing her work.  In fact,  she would like to have access to the games all the time.

Miss 7 studied language arts, and it was such a joy to see her actually reading.  She was able to do a lot of the math and learned a few new concepts.  Time4Learning worked for her.  She also loved the playground.

I did not appreciate the culture presented in Time4Learning:  the music, the mimicking of TV shows, the emphasis on silliness, and the slang. Being used to quality literature and music, most of our children did not appreciate it either.  This culture may be what many kids are comfortable with, but it’s not what we want for our children. 

Time4Learning’s assessments are detailed but a bit confusing.  During the month we tried out the program, there was a glitch in some of the reporting, which added to the confusion.  Even so, I loved being able to click on a child’s quiz mark to be able to see exactly how each question had been answered.  That way we could work through difficult concepts together.

Our Conclusions

Time4Learning helped Miss 7 with both her reading and her math, and it gave Miss 12 necessary algebra practice.  It also identified some math topics that Miss 10 needs help with.  However, we will not be using it again, and we caution homeschoolers to check it out carefully to see if it would meet their family’s goals and suit their educational philosophy. 

I think many Charlotte Mason and classical homeschoolers, as well as unschoolers, would not be comfortable with Time4Learning except, perhaps, as a summer diversion.  On the other hand, textbook oriented families and families who appreciate modern culture may find that this program meets their needs very well. 

If you are interested, do check out the free demos and the scope and sequence. 

Where to get it

You can order Time4Learning  for $19.95 US a month for the first child and $14.95 US a month for each additional child.  You can also request a free month in exchange for a review on your blog or elsewhere.

Disclosure   We received a free month of Time4Learning in exchange for an honest review.

6 Comments

  1. Secret Person says:

    That’s not true, I use time4learning and it is so helpful, I’ve been using it for two years now and I highly recommend it.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      I’m sorry, but all facts in this review are accurate. My opinions are my own, and they are valid and will help people make a realistic choice. It would have helped my readers if you had been more specific about your disagreement with me, Secret Person, so they would have had more information to make their choices.

  2. Barb says:

    Thanks for the review. I’m going to try it out on my two 6th grade boys and see what I think. It sounds like they might like it!

  3. Sara says:

    I think that this review was quite helpful. I too have used time4learning in the past, but have sense reverted again to using a more traditional curriculum, as I believe that the one-on-one aspect of homeschooling is what many of us find to be the most beneficial and rewarding. Time4learning can be great for supplementing an already in place homeschool curriculum routine, but in no way should it be the main source of a child’s schooling as it leaves out so many crucial things. For those who are more hands off in their educating methods and hope to use it as a be all end all curriculum, I suggest that they look into some online private schools, so that their children’s education does not suffer as a result.

  4. Amanda says:

    Thank you for the review! I love your website! Our son is still quite young, he will be turning 2 in a few months, so we have just started to look into the pros and cons of homeschooling and how it works. We have not yet decided what would we like to do as far as homeschooling or not. I did not realize there are so many ways to homeschool, it all seems very confusing and stressful. Perhaps you have already written about this, but do you have any specific information that would be helpful to someone just starting to look into homeschooling?

  5. Jana Z. says:

    I have been seriously thinking about signing up my 2 boys for time4learning as a supplement to our first year of homeschooling, but the price has been holding me back. I do appreciate your review and think that I will spend my money elsewhere. I still am considering a short term writing class through time4writing.

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