Sunday, May 11, 2014

Time4Learning Review

I've done a lot of curriculum reviews in my blog over the years but haven't done a single one for the main curriculum we have been using since beginning to homeschool 8 years ago. Weird. Yes, I also work for the same place but the fact I was using the curriculum BEFORE working for Time4Learning should say a lot!

Time4Learning is an online curriculum that includes-

A language arts curriculum with a strong literacy foundation which I LOVE. For the preschool to eighth grade curriculum it has phonics, grammar, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, writing skills and more.

A math curriculum for preschool to eighth grade that has multimedia lessons, interactive activities, plus worksheets to teach basic arithmetic, number sense and operations, measurement, geometry, pre-algebra and more!

Both language arts and math correlates to state standards.

They also offer social studies lessons to students at a 2nd through 7th grade level and science at the 1st through 8th grade level. Elementary science is grouped from kindergarten to 5th grade by each individual grade level. Middle school science is grouped from 6th through 8th grade level. It includes Earth/Space Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. They also add in Nature of Science as an added supplement to the middle school science courses.

Social studies and science are added as a bonus and may need supplemented to satisfy each state's requirements. 

How have we used Time4Learning in our home? My son (14) who has Prader-Willi Syndrome, autism, and ADHD, is a visual learner and the animations that some of the curriculum contains really hold his attention. I have heard some criticism on the humor used in the programs but....hahaha....THAT was definitely not an issue for us and further helped to hold A~man's attention.He used it for Pre-school to partway through 3rd grade level. No, he did not go through each level in one year but that is what makes it great! A child can progress through it at their own pace and in our house we do not pay a whole lot of attention to "grade levels" anyway. I want my children to progress at their own rate. We haven't used it as much for A~man the last couple of years as in the upper levels it requires more reading and although he does read at a 2nd/3rd grade level he reads slow...and a lot is lost when it is a long passage. There are ways to make some of the curriculum be read to the student but I didn't have a lot of luck with it....but that is most likely user error and not the program itself. So the last two years I have been totally focused on getting his reading skills to his highest potential and also working heavily on basic math skills via other ways. Next year I plan on him jumping back in where he left off.

What about Z~girl? She has used it for Kindergarten through this year. She is roughly finishing the year somewhere between 6th and 7th grade. I cannot say enough about how helpful it has been in her becoming an independent learner. Yes, mama brag coming up....She gets up every week day (and sometimes on Saturday) at 6:45 AM (who's child is this?) to do her online schoolwork before *ahem* the rest of us get up. She gets her work done before 9 AM. This allows her the rest of the day to unschool and she is the queen of delight directed homeschooling. If frees up her day to read for hours, take care of and play with her pets, and learn about whatever she is currently interested in. It also allows a lot of freedom for all of our many extra-curricular activities.

She uses all but the math and especially loves the social studies and science lessons. (me too!) I am able to look through what she does and how she scores on the tests online but periodically I do sit down with her to observe how she is doing also. So many of the social studies and science lessons have sparked an interest in her to explore a subject more deeply by looking for books at the library on the subject.

We are Christians that homeschool but not all of the curriculum is strictly faith based. Time4Learning is one such example. There are a handful of things in the curriculum that we do not agree with as parents/educators but instead of sheltering Z~girl from it I have chosen to have it be a way of discussion. She will go to college one day and I think it makes more sense for her to hear about other theories early on....along with the way we believe. It truly just makes more sense for her to get to a college level science class and not be surprised by a different teaching idea.

Time4Learning also makes lesson plans super easy and offers tools and tips on planning out your school year. I do not have a lot of experience with this particular aspect as I have found if I plan out every day of the "school year" something happens. For us letting them go at their own pace works best but I do like the option of planning out the year and can see definitely using it when Z reaches high school level and is doing a world history high school course.

Oh speaking of which I forgot to mention that just this last year Time4Learning added HIGH SCHOOL! I do not have any experience with that yet but very happy to see that they added it. 

What is the cost?

Sometimes they have specials but generally these are the prices as follows-

PreK-8th grade- monthly membership cost is $19.95 for the first student and $14.95 for each additional student

High School- monthly membership is $30 per student which includes 4 courses. Additional courses can be purchased for an extra $5 a month per course chosen. Having one student does allow you to receive the discounted rate of $14.95 for a child in lower grades but there is no discounted rate for high school students. 

I definitely recommend Time4Learning for a homeschool curriculum for typical children and those with special needs. It also would be a great way for students in public school to do "summer school" online! 

1 comment:

  1. Love your review! My son is trying to finish up his 9th grade year, and he's been REALLY enjoying the high school courses! He's been using T4L since 2nd grade, so to say that he was excited when they announced the high school courses, just in time for his high school journey to start, is a major understatement. :D