As a homeschooling mom, I am constantly looking for lesson and curriculum solutions that are better and more user-friendly than what we currently use. When we started "school" a month ago, we ran into a few scheduling and transition challenges, and I started looking for solutions. Time4Learning seemed like it could be the answer for a lot of our issues, so I decided we would check it out.
Even better than their online sample lessons, Time4Learning has two options for people (like us!) who want to try it out and see if it will work for them:
1- Sign up for the program with a 2-week 100% money back guarantee. If you don't like it, cancel within two weeks and get your money back. Nothing lost, knowledge gained!
2- If you have a blog, you can share an honest, candid review in exchange for a 1-month subscription. This is what we did...and here is our review! I hope you enjoy it!
Time4Learning is an online curriculum with child-friendly animations and cartoons. Core subjects are aligned to state standards. They cover PreK through Highschool. When you sign up, you choose an age range...we used PreK - 3rd grade since Kaia is in 2nd.
Language Arts Curriculum: I thought the Time4Learning language arts curriculum was the strongest suit of the entire program. I love how it was laid out sequentially and included phonics, sight words, comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. The stories I saw were unique and creative and held Kaia's interest. The lessons involved a lot of repetition, which is essential for mastering certain concepts. The only potential problem I saw was that it required a lot of reading. Kaia reads above grade level, so it was fine for her, but if you had a child that struggled with reading you would need to either read the text to your child or move your child to a lower grade level.
Math Curriculum: The math curriculum used multimedia lessons to cover basic arithmetic, numbers, measurement, and early geometry and algebra skills. The 2nd grade level also includes things like telling time and using money. These lessons also use a lot of repetition, but (like the language arts lessons) it takes different forms: sometimes you answer worksheet-style questions, sometimes you play a game, sometimes you choose from available answers, etc. The math lessons we did were actually very easy for Kaia, and if we were to continue using Time4Learning, I would probably move her up to the 3rd grade lessons very soon. This is a useful aspect of Time4Learning: you can designate different grade levels for different subjects for your child...and if that intimidates you, you can call the lovely Time4Learning people and they will change it for you. :)
Social Studies Curriculum: The social studies curriculum for early grades is very scant. A few lessons covered essential skills like maps, living in a community, doing chores, etc. There was also a set of lessons on citizenship/American holidays. I understand higher levels have a more intense social studies curriculum and that Time4Learning is expanding this curriculum for younger grades soon.
Science Curriculum: The science curriculum has more substance than the social studies, but I felt like it still has a lot of room for improvement. However, because I have a background in science education, I already have a lot of ideas about what science teaching should look like. I would supplement any science curriculum (including Time4Learning) with a lot of hands on, exploratory experiences. Also, for comparison sake, there are only 21 science activities and 210 language arts activities. All that said, Kaia absolutely loved the Basic Needs of Animals and the Magnetism lessons!
Parent Extras: A parent "behind the scenes" log in lets you set your child's grade level, choose which lessons are available for your child, set how much time your child can work, see which activities your child has completed, and see how your child has performed on quizzes and tests. There is also a handbook for homeschoolers, a Getting Started guide, forums to interact with other parents, a great FAQ section, and really helpful helpers available on the phone.
Are you considering using Time4Learning for your homeschool day? Do you need more information to consider? Here are the biggest pros and cons I saw:
* Interactive online platform. My kids love the computer, so this is a big bonus!
* Logical, sequential math and language arts lessons!
* Fun repetition!
* Children can do most work independently! This is especially helpful if you're trying to balance more than one grade level or work from home.
* Low monthly cost!
* Low monthly cost!
* Social Studies and Science need to grow. There are currently enough science activities to do one activity every one-and-a-half weeks in 2nd grade.
* There was a puppet cartoon in the math curriculum that really irritated Kaia. Personally, I thought she was being a little too sensitive, but it was very frustrating for her.
In conclusion, I think Time4Learning is a fantastic program...especially for language arts and math! I really appreciate the fun online interface. In the end, though, we decided that (at least right now) we preferred doing our core subjects face to face, and not on a computer. We may revisit this in the future, particularly because I'm so happy with the language arts format, but for right now we're going back doing core subjects as a small group.
Have you tried Time4Learning? I'd love to know what you think!
Disclosure: My opinion is entirely my own! This content was not written by Time4Learning, but the writer was compensated with access to Time4Learning.