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Our Time4Learning Experience

t4l_review

We have just completed our month long review period of Time4Learning, so I would like to share our thoughts on the program.  We skipped the social studies sections, and focused only on the math, science, and language arts subjects for the purposes of this review.

Math – Both of my sons use Life of Fred math, which is more of a story-like context, and both work well above their age level. So, I knew that this type of curriculum would be a big change for them. I had them try the math on Time4Learning both on grade level, as well as a level above, since I was unsure of in which grade level they would fall. Basically, there was nothing new. Both of my boys found it very easy, and used it more as a fun way to review the facts they already knew, especially with the different games available. They soon decided, however, that they would rather just continue with their current curriculum, since T4L was just “too easy”.

Science – This was definitely our favorite subject, by far. I allowed both boys to pick and choose which areas they wanted to study. Both chose to check out the sections that corresponded to their current (Apologia) science curricula. For reinforcement purposes, the science section really is great. The boys were able to explore different areas of interest, read the lessons, and complete the activities unassisted. For my science fanatic, this was especially appealing. The only drawback to this section is the fact that it is basically a textbook. The pages are much like the pages of any science textbook, and there were few activities or demos. I think the science area could definitely benefit from such things.

Language Arts – This area is probably the most difficult to decide upon. On one hand, the boys did learn, or relearn a lot of grammatical facts. At their age, I focus more on the quality of their writing than their ability to diagram a sentence, so it was nice to give them the latter as a focus for a while. That being said, my younger son has problems with sensory overload, and there were times that he just had to stop and walk away. The language arts involves a lot of silly characters in conversation, teaching parts of speech and such, and he could only handle so much of that. My older son, in response to said characters, was simply not amused, and also had to switch gears after a time. So they did learn, but it had to be taken in small bites.

Overall Opinion

The pros:

  • The site is easily navigable. The boys and I found it very easy to find our way to the activities we wanted.
  • Fun and engaging, especially for a younger audience.
  • Kids can either pick and choose those areas they want/ need to study, or parents can schedule specific courses and activities into a schedule for kids to complete.
  • Kids can work independently.
  • Excellent for reinforcing existing curricula.
  • It is very easy to move from different grade levels, if the child needs more or less of a challenge.

The cons:

  • There doesn’t seem to be enough content for a full curriculum. I just don’t see this being meaty enough to cover everything necessary in a school year.
  • The content is not nearly challenging enough. My oldest was especially vocal about the lessons being a bit babyish. Both agreed the content itself was very easy, and some of the presentations would be much better suited for younger learners.
  • The humor in some of the language arts presentations used a bit of rude humor. My youngest deemed them a bit “inappropriate”.
  • Even though it is presented via a website, the science is basically a textbook, rather than being full of engaging demos and such, as it could be.

The final verdict

I think this would be a great source for reinforcement information and activities, but I really do not think this could substitute for a full curriculum. Also, I think parents should be careful to help choose appropriate activities, since some subject material may be well below grade level. I would recommend supervision of some of the conversation in the language arts section as well, especially if you lean more toward a conservative side. I do think there are some really good activities to be found for all ages, though it might take some searching and tweaking to zero in on what works best for each family.

Disclaimer: I was invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion is entirely my own. I received no further compensation.

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