Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review--Time For Learning

I had the opportunity to try for one month free of charge. In exchange, I agreed to post a review of the site. My goal is to be as honest as possible.

Let me start with the positive aspects of the program.

*The site gave me the gift of time, to the tune of a couple hours during the busy holiday months. I really liked that my kids could be doing learning activities on their own. Even if they only use 30 minutes every day, that is on-task time that I didn't have to plan.

*The kids could select areas of interest. I've wanted to introduce more interest-based learning time into our curriculum. This gave me a taste for what they might enjoy. Whenever given the choice, they tended to lean toward certain subjects and lessons, even repeating their favorites.

*The lessons seem to reflect topics that might appear on standardized tests. We live in a state that requires us to take standardized tests. I feel comfortable knowing that the kids covered some new topics that will probably be on their tests.

*The lessons from grade K-2 seem to be largely "taught". There is a voice that progresses through the lesson and you can't skip past the voice just to rush through and be done.

*You must complete a certain amount of lesson time before going to the playground. The parent sets the amount of required lesson time and playground time. This can be changed at any time and lets me use the site as it fits our day's schedule. Also, when your playground time expires, it shuts down your game. It prevents someone from sneaking in extra playground time.

*For most K-2 lessons, the time-on-task seems to be quite high. There is a good mix of lesson and follow-up questions or quiz.

*Your child can access lessons up to one grade above and below their current grade level (set by you).

I'll also include a few aspects of the program that I was less excited about.

*There seems to be quite a large jump in maturity required for the 3rd grade activities. My 2nd grader is above grade level in several areas so I wanted him to try several grade 3 topics in addition to 2nd grade ones. This proved a bit difficult. The 3rd grade lessons often required a great deal of reading. He could read them. Unfortunately, he didn't really want to. He could skip right through these parts and the lesson was still checked off as if he had finished it. There often didn't seem to be the nice questions or quiz at the end of the lesson as in the grade 2 lessons to check your mastery over the material. If I wanted to know whether he was really doing the lesson, I had to be close by.

*I would have liked more History/Geography/Social Studies in the K-2 grades.

*The cost is a bit prohibitive at $19.99 for the first child and a discount for subsequent children.

*I don't think there was a pre-test to help determine which lessons were most important for them to cover.

*They seem to do monthly maintenance (one Saturday) on the site which lasts about a day. The lessons are all inaccessible at this time.

1 comment:

  1. We have been using Time4Learning for about 4 years/5 grades. We noticed the transition from 2nd grade to 3rd grade. My daughter really disliked 3rd grade, but I will say that by the time we hit 4th grade she began to seriously enjoy it again. We don't feel that the price is prohibitive, but we are only homeschooling one child, and T4L ends up being much less expensive than a boxed curriculum, but I do see how it might be a little price prohibitive if you had more than one child. I appreciate reading your review. It is good to see what other people who are not long time user thing of the program. Happy homeschooling!
    Homeschooling 1 child, for 4 years, with Time4Learning