Monday, December 9, 2013

Review--Time4Learning

We got an opportunity to "test drive" Time4Learning for a month.  I'd seen the site advertised, so I was excited to see if it delivered on its promises.  Both Sarah and Natalie got accounts set up, and both used the site frequently.  Here are our thoughts.

Pros: 
1. The girls loved it.  They were eager to go to the site, and they liked the activities.  Natalie is still asking about it, even though our trial period has ended.  
2. Variety of activities.  Each girl had a wide range of subjects and games from which to choose.  
3. I could log in as a parent to check Sarah's scores, progress, etc.  The information was already there and organized--no extra record keeping on my part.
4. The parents' area also had forums to check in with other parents for tips and advice.  I didn't actually use this feature, but it was nice to know it was there if needed.
5. Although each child's account was set up for a particular grade level (3rd grade for Sarah, preschool for Natalie), they could bump up or down a grade if they wanted or needed to.  I like that it could be customized that way.
6. I could get PDFs for things like spelling lists or science supplies--very easy to print for reference.

Cons:
1. Cost.  I do think the program is good, but I don't have the money to pay for it each month--especially for both girls.  
2. There were no records for Natalie.  Don't get me wrong--we do preschool in a very laid-back fashion around here.  I'm not even keeping official records for her yet--she's only four!  But I would have liked to have known more about what activities she did and what she knew and didn't know, just for my own information.  
3. It is computer-based.  We end up spending a fair amount of time on the computer for school anyway.  Adding even more screen time to our day didn't exactly thrill me.  I think most children today need less time in front of a screen and more time in the "real world."

I think this site could be great for public school kids who are behind in an area or two--it could provide a fun way for them to catch up on skills in those subjects.  Homeschool families might like to fill in "gaps" or subjects they feel they neglect.  It's also nice as a supplement to enhance what you're already doing.  We like history here, and Sarah especially enjoyed Time4Learning's timeline activities.  That was a nice way to add to what we were already doing.  Finally, if a parent just wanted a fun way to help students keep learning over the summer, this would be a good option for that.  

Even though we won't be continuing with Time4Learning right now, I do think it's a great site with many benefits.  

1 comment:

Jackie P said...

The great thing about Time4Learning is that it truly does fit many different needs...public school kids, homeschool kids, afterschool kids, summer learning, enrichment time...

My daughter used it in elementary and junior high as our core curriculum and supplemented with things she was interested in learning more about, or for things not offered.

I especially liked that they did ALL the record keeping for me and that I could looks at reports as simplified as I wanted or as detailed as I wanted. Like you, I also loved that my daughter had access to not only her grade level, but the one below and the one above. That was a huge blessing because she was ahead in language, but behind in math.

As for too much screen time, it didn't really take much more than 2 hours a day for her to complete are lessons and I was o.k. with that amount of time.

I understand the money issue. I only had one child enrolled, but I paid quarterly so I could get a discount. They offer discounts if you pay quarterly or yearly. I do know they also discount for the second child. I will say that using T4L was way cheaper than some of the boxed curriculum I've purchased (and never used--Grrr!).

Thanks for sharing. :)

Merry Christmas,
Jackie