Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

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14 September 2011

TOS Review - Time4Learning

I've had mixed feelings about this product.... and have thus literally waited until the last minute to actually post about it. So, let's just jump in shall we??

Time4Learning is a web based program that can be used as a whole curriculum in and of itself, but can also be used to supplement and reinforce learning. In other words, this would work great for homeschooler's looking for a complete online curriculum or for homeschooler's and public schooler's just looking for some added learning after school or over the summer.

In their own words the program includes the following:

"Online curriculum for grades Pre-K through 8th
More than 1,000 interactive animated lessons
Self paced lessons that kids will enjoy working on
Math & algebra tutorials & printable worksheets
Language arts, phonics & grammar lessons
Interactive, project-based reading activities
Science (grades 1st - 6th) & social studies (grades 2nd - 7th)
Detailed reporting for easy record keeping
Extensive lesson plans & teaching tools for parents
and much more...
Time4Learning is web based, so there is no software to download, no CDs and nothing additional to purchase. Members can access the program 24/7 from anywhere with a computer and an internet connection

All of this comes for a monthly payment of $19.95 for the first child and $14.95 for each additional child.

So... what did I think as we used this? Well, let's stare at the elephant that causes me the biggest problem... that'd be the price. As a family with 5 children in order to use this program we'd spend $95 a month, and I'm going to go ahead and not multiply that by 12 because I may have a heart attack :-). In all fairness, it's just my daughter that I really wanted to try this program on and it worked out fine for her... but again, even a $19.95 commitment times 12 is on the pricey side.

Moving on, how did it function for us pricing aside? I had 3 accounts for a 1 month trial. Those accounts consisted of a first grade account, kindergarten, and preschool. I like that you can set the age range for your child in different subjects and that the program will adjust itself to make sure that your child is getting challenged etc., and that they provide reports of how the lessons are going so you can see how your child is functioning and at what level. For homeschooling parents this is also helpful because if your state requires reports and you need proof of something the website allows you to print off what you need from the site.

My oldest was on the first grade plan and I thought that the lessons were appropriate for where he is academically. However, for some reason the idea that there was a game to be played at the end kind of shut down his brain and instead of listening to the lessons and answering the questions he basically just clicked away on the pages and got through the bare minimum in order to play a game. My husband related it to a battery of tests that the military has... if you click enough eventually you can get through and pass with just enough. So, after a few sessions with our oldest in the program he ended up getting banned from using the program.

Our daughter was on the kindergarten plan. She was really the one that I had in mind when I took on this review. Lots of people that I have talked to (family and close friends) that have problems with dyslexia have told me that computers can be helpful in the learning process. So, even despite the cost, I was willing to use this for her if it made sense and was a format that made learning come alive for her. It was good for her in some ways, but I didn't think it was worth it. It wasn't worth it because she wasn't doing THAT much better at things and she would still get frustrated. And I had to be there to read to her the questions for the "test" portion at the end anyway. So, that being said, I like a more hands-on approach to teaching my children anyway so I didn't see the point of trying to get her to go through these lessons and then having to go over all of it again. It is definitely a lot easier to just stick to our regular programs geared towards kinesthetic learning that are not web/computer based.

Lastly, the preschool page was for our next child. I like the pictures and the setup of it, and honestly, for the amount of money that I hear people spend on sending their children to preschool I would totally recommend this instead! That $20 is all the sudden child's play after some of the programs in my area that are 15-20 a day... multiplied by 2-3 times a week. Yep, the heart attack just came back. So, I would ABSOLUTELY use Time4learning for preschool if you're thinking about sending your child to one and then just add in some "play dates" if you feel so inclined.

There is an option to try a free demo here so you can get an idea of how the program works. And of course you can always sign up for a month and see how it works for you and cancel without penalty if you don't feel like it's something you want to do.

I think by doing this review I've found that this sort of program is really not for me, and that has a lot to do with our style of learning. We learn as a family and I prefer things done as a group and not so much an individual or two at the computer alone. Granted I could be there holding their hand through everything, but that feels like it defeats the purpose since you're essentially buying a teacher/tutor.... so, maybe it made me feel obsolete and I'm just jealous? Who knows!

That being said, I can see this being beneficial for someone transitioning with their child from public school to homeschool or having no idea what or how they want to teach/what would work best for their child. I know people often have moments where something happens in the family and maybe a month or more with a web based program that does all the work would also be a great help, and this would certainly fit the bill! So, I say go try it out and see what you think... and if you realize that you're weird like me and it's not going to work then at least keep it in the back of your mind as something that could bail you out of a stressful situation while still providing a good education for your child (well, assuming that s/he isn't like my oldest or eventually snaps out of it! :-D).

If you'd like to see what other Crew Members are saying about this product please go here.

*As a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Crew I was provided a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review of its content. I have not received any other compensation for the opinions stated here, and they were not promised a positive review.**


crazy4boys said...

I've looked at this so many times when I've been on bedrest or super sick...at least they'd have SOMETHING, right? But the cost is always the kicker and I think boys are like your oldest...just get me to the game! At the end of the day it's always easier to do what I already had planned to do. Now if they lowered the price, I'd be so tempted to use this as a "reward" - get your schoolwork done and you can "play" on the computer.

Tristan said...

The price kills me too, but we did a free month when I had the last baby (#6) and it was a nice thing for the kids to have to do. I just may splurge for two months of it when we have baby#7 because of all the hospital and surgery time we'll have then. It's something that whoever is watching my kids can make sure gets done while I'm living at the NICU.

Pleasantly Peavey said...

Hi. Stopped by to check out your thoughts on T4L. Although it wasn't the best fit for my kids, we did find parts we liked too. I also thought that price was a bit of a concern for families with many kids. Love the blog, especially the colors. Now following you too. Blessings! Roberta from Pondering on the Prairie

Pleasantly Peavey said...

Hi. Checking out some Crew blogs to see what others thought of
T4L. You're not weird. This wasn't exactly the best fit for us either, but I could see times when it could be helpful. Liked your review. Now following you too! :) Roberta from Pondering on the Prairie

FairyLover said...

You're so right that what works well for one family does not work for another. We have been using time4learning for four years now and we love it. I only have one child at home. For him, it's great. He loves the game type aspec of the learning activities. I love how easy the reports are so I have documentation of what we have done.