Yesterday we finished up our one-month free trial of Time4Learning, an on-line Math and Language Arts curriculum.
Time4Learning is an on-line curriculum for Math and Language Arts for grades Pre-K-8, and includes Social Studies and Science in grades 1-6. Art is also available after the first month. Time4Learning can be used as a complete curriculum, a supplement to the curriculum you are already using, or as a summer school program.
When I began looking at Time4Learning, I admit that my response was skeptical at best. Because this curriculum uses video game-like teaching, I was uncertain if my children would learn anything. I knew they would love it (who wouldn't love playing video games for school?), but I, of course, wanted to be sure they would actually learn!
For the first several lessons my skepticism remained, but over time I began to be amazed at how much my children were learning. This curriculum is much stronger than it appears to be at first glance.
Some of the real strengths I found are:
Strong review--each unit is taught, quizzed, reviewed, then quizzed again. My oldest (7th grade) especially appreciated this in the Math.
The writing requirements are fun--My youngest (2nd grade) used to hate writing. Because he is able to create the background for his writing assignments (by choosing the people, room, props, etc. on the screen), and because he types his assignment rather than writing it, he really enjoys the writing assignments. He even asks to do school every day!! (small miracle)
The grammar is strong and understandable--My middle child (4th grade) struggles with grammar and has often become frustrated with any grammar-related assignments. With Time4Learning, she actually enjoys it. WOW. And, even more important, she gets it.
The reading comprehension exercises are timed--While this may not seem important, as a homeschool mom I love it! My youngest is still at the point where he does not enjoy reading (it is still work for him), but he is very competitive. Because the reading assignments (some of them) are timed, he has to beat the clock. After each assignment he is shown his wpm (words per minute) and is asked to read the assignment again, this time more fluently. I love that the emphasis is on reading fluently. My son does his reading assignments with little or no complaints now, mainly because he is always trying to better his "score".
Grading is immediate and automatic--My children and I both love the immediate and automatic grading!! This takes a lot of the burden off of mom, which allows me to work better in other areas.
Just a note: I noticed with the quizzes/tests, etc. that there is no pause capability. In other words, if my child needs to stop half-way through a quiz and exits, the grade is automatically entered and the unanswered questions are marked wrong. This grade is then recorded and averaged in, and I could not find a way to correct this.
What my children say about Time4Learning:
Oldest: It is easier to remember, great review in Math, "It's a lot more fun!"
Middle: "I like how in the Math, when I mess up, they let me go through it again until I learn it. I like the Language Arts how they have the videos and explain things to me through the videos, because they are fun and they explain stuff. It's not just boring old school."
Youngest: "I like Math, because there's a guy that explains it all and after Math there's a quiz. I like Science, because they have stuff like telescopes. I like Language Arts Extensions, because it is fun. I get to read about spiders. I like Social Studies because I learn about America and other countries. I LOVE the Playground!"
What Mom says: I love that my children love school! I do believe that they are learning and retaining what they learn. YAY! I also love that they are finished quickly.
There were, however, a few things that I do not love. I really dislike that this is a secular curriculum and not bible-based. While this is not a huge problem in the Math, I found several references to evolution in the Language Arts reading assignments, and especially in the Science. Because we are supplementing with other subjects and not using the Science for my older children (I sit with my youngest while he does his school, usually), I feel this is not a large enough issue to keep me from using Time4Learning. Also, I am told that the Parent Forum speaks specifically to this issue and warns of lessons that have evolutionistic content.
(I realize that this is not a problem for everyone, but since this review is about how Time4Learning worked for us I felt I should mention it.)
While I am still uncertain about the how of their learning (cartoon-led lessons are still very unconventional in my thinking!), I am now more certain of the what they are learning. I do feel that this is a solid program, and that the benefit of the automatic grading and no prep for me outways the few issues I have with Time4Learning's curriculum.
Will I used Time4Learning again? YES. We are going to finish out this school year using Time4Learning in varying degrees:
*My oldest (7th grade) will use it for Math, Art, and Language Arts. We will supplement with Reading, Writing assignments, History, Science and Bible.
*My middle (4th grade) will use Time4Learning for Math, Art, and Language Arts. We will supplement with Reading, History, Science and Bible.
*My youngest (2nd grade) will use Time4Learning for Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Art.
We will supplement with Read-alouds, Handwriting, and he will join us for some of History, Science and Bible.
I expect the next few months will be a good indication for us whether or not to use Time4Learning for next school year. I will post more about that in a few months!
I hope you have found this to be a helpful review. Feel free to contact me (using the Contact Me button at the top of this screen) if you have any questions.