|Ronin working on Time4Learning with headphones in place.|
After my husband and I came to the compromise that we would homeschool our children instead of unschooling them, part of the compromise was to check out a program called Time 4 Learning. One of Hunter's best friends used it for 5th grade last school year and it came pretty highly recommended. Our theory was that it would be great for both big kids. Hunter would like it because he could skip handwriting during (most) of the lessons and concentrate on the material (handwriting would be addressed in all of the other things he was doing for homeschool). Ronin would like it because she enjoys independent work and likes using the computer.
I contacted the company and asked if I could write a review in exchange for a review on my blog and they happily agreed. Thanks Time4Learning.
I have so much to say about this program but from my experience, people like to look at bullet point lists. So, let's start out with the negative.
I don't have many bad things to say about Time 4 Learning. But...
-Set up: I got a bit frazzled and frustrated trying to set up the account and figure out how to use it in the beginning. Of course, turns out that my laptop was in great need of some updating which was the primary source of my issues. But there was that. (The staff was very helpful and talked my husband through our issues on the phone and via email... so maybe this should also go in the pros list actually).
-Cheese: Much of the material is cheesy. Just sayin'.
-Exiting correctly: If you want each lesson to reflect that your child has completed it, you must exit it correctly. This isn't the easiest of things for an 8 and 6 year old to remember.
What did Hunter dislike about the program?
The Kitty and Arvid show is too long and takes forever.
He doesn't like the quizzes. They are really long quizzes.
Ronin's least favorite thing about the program?
"The Kitty and Arvid Show" (I'm seeing a pattern here.)
And now for the positives...
It would literally take me all day to list all of the things that I love about T4L. So I'll just list my very favorite things.
-Grade level placement: I have an 8 year old and a 6 year old who are both doing the 2nd grade work. I wasn't sure where to place either of them but thankfully T4L offered an evaluation at the beginning of the program which placed my kids where they needed to be. And of course I have the flexibility to move them up or down a grade level if I need to (but I found their placement to be quite accurate).
-Easy: Everything about this program is easy to use. Not only for me and my husband but for the kids. It doesn't stress out my son when almost everything on earth stresses him out. So, winning!
-Thorough: The program seems quite thorough in the topics it covers. But beyond that, I feel as if each topic allows me to see what my children are mastering and what they are not about that topic. I'm paying close attention and making a list (particularly in math) of concepts that they struggle with. My intention is to spend some time working on those topics at a later time.
-Plenty of room: The program is not so time consuming that there isn't plenty of time otherwise to work on extra things. My husband has agreed that outside of this program everything else can be unschooled.
-Launching point: Since I don't have to spend any time thinking about or planning these lessons, it leaves me more energy to plan other lessons and activities not only related to what they are learning within T4L but also related to anything else that might have popped up during their busy days.
-Insight: I've learned so many neat things about my kids due to their experiences with T4L. Not only do I have greater insight into what level they are working on academically but thanks to the lessons we now know that Hunter writes really funny stories. And that he's interested in bees and bee keeping. And that he thinks doing fractions is fun.
Hunter's favorite things about Time4Learning?
Math is fun. Unless it's the Kitty and Arvid Show. Then he doesn't like it.
What does Ronin like about Time4Learning?
Subtraction is fun. She likes that it's on the computer. She likes that she got to learn about the Grand Canyon. Sometimes it's a little hard and sometimes it's a little easy.
I'm really pleased with our Time4Learning experience so far. The kids enjoy it and it makes my life easier actually. I think it's a great "covering our bases" curriculum for more relaxed homeschoolers who lean toward an unschooling lifestyle. I am confident that, with this program, my kids are "caught up" and will both be performing "at grade level" or beyond within the year. Thank you T4L for the chance to try the program for free for a month and to review it on the blog!
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