A Curriculum Review: Time4Learning

We have been homeschooling for four years. I have been pregnant for two of them. The other two were “new baby” years. As a first time homeschooler we tested out a variety of curriculums, mostly handed down pieces and free online resources.
We bought an all inclusive one for our daughters first grade year and it bored her. It bored me too.
Last spring, we purchased another curriculum, gently used, thinking it would be easier for mom during our “baby” year. We scrapped it in a couple months.
I wanted so badly to be the cool mom with crafty lessons and lapbooks and unit studies and experiments and stuff. I just couldn’t do it. I had one daughter that was desperately trying to tell me she liked the more textbook-y stuff and one daughter that only liked it if it didn’t exercise her brain – at all.
I had a toddler and now a baby and started looking back at all the ideas I had turned down before.
One of them was the online curriculum Time 4 Learning. I had been to the site several times and kept turning away from it because of the cost. At the time I was finding material for free, justifying the monthly fee to our Mr. Daddy Principal Man was hard.
A month ago I found myself at their site again. Now we would have two kids signed up. Now I have a better idea of what motivates my girls. When I did the math I realized that EVEN IF we did school 12 months the total sum of the monthly fees was less than the cost of the last curriculum we purchased! (They do have an option to put your account on hold over the summer!)
I needed to convince Mr. Daddy Principal Man to give it a chance. God provided me an opportunity to show him how great the site was when I received an email invitation to review the site for one month FREE! I posted the disclaimer on my blog (it’s been on my sidebar all month, recently moved to this post), and signed my girls up!
My time is up, we’ve renewed the membership, and now for my official review. Thanks Time 4 Learning for giving us this opportunity!
****************This review is 100% my own opinion. At the time of this posting I am under a PAID membership status with them.

It’s pretty obvious at this point that my review is overall positive, after all I DID pay for another month. There are some highlighted points I do want to make about their program. We are currently working on the first and third grades.
Pros:

  • No commitment. Charges are monthly, cancel anytime.
  • The Backpack and The Parent Login! : The Backpack is a place where my daughter can go to see her work for the day/week/month and the icons let her know what she finished and what her grades were. The Parent Login now allows me to do the same thing from my laptop while they are still logged in and working. Imagine my 9 year old’s surprise when I tell her to go back and finish an activity! “Moooom, how did you know?”
  • When you choose your child’s grade level, you are given access to the activities for the grade level below and above them.
  • The activities are short for those ever elusive attention spans!
  • Many of the first grade activities READ to my child.
  • The child can click the “Resource”link under their activity and print their worksheet.
  • Quizzes immediately show the child their score and what questions they missed.
  • I can use it anytime, anywhere I have an internet connection and a computer and at our own pace.
  • Reasonably priced.
  • Blocked “Playground” area, full of educational games, that only unlocks once the student had worked for a PARENT specified amount of time. I can, at any moment, override this for special days or as a special reward.

Cons:

  • The software, at this time, does not have the ability to “assign” students certain tasks on certain days from within the program. I do that on daily lesson pages that I made up. Not a deal breaker, just adds a manual step in my planning. (This functionality is available to classroom teachers only at this time)
  • The added on subjects, like social studies and science, do not read the questions to my non reader for the first grade. They do have information in their forum on a free program that will read to your child but I have not tested it yet.
  • There is only one worksheet per activity. Again, not a deal breaker for me because I know of a dozen great places online for additional FREE worksheets.

My biggest issue is with planning lessons and assigning them. This has been an issue with other curriculums so I have difficulty really blaming it on Time4Learning. I have enjoyed our free month and look forward to using it the rest of this school year and the next!
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I’ve been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning is an online educational program that can be used in many ways including as a homeschooling curriculum or afterschool tutorial. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning

3 thoughts on “A Curriculum Review: Time4Learning

  1. Brandy aka Lil' Momma says:

    We use time4learning.com also. How we handle the planning issue is I use one of those free planning books from Staples or Office Depot. (They give them away at the beginning of the year) I fill out what I want my son to do in each subject daily. He follows my list not the arrows. It works good for us. Oh and the text to speech thing is great if you take the time to figure out what works on your computer. We have a mac so it is built into our computer. We just had to learn what the short cut keys where. Once he did that he was all set. He enjoys that independence. We still add other stuff like spelling, bible and extra reading. But it has made a world of difference in the past few years when we had new baby in the house Hope it continues to help you too. :^)

  2. sandra nelson says:

    Thanks for the great review (I’m with Time4Learning). We appreciate the kind words and we are acutely aware of the planning issue. It’s actively being discussed by the Time4Learning parents and powers-that-be: For example:
    http://www.time4learning.net/forum/home-school-questions/lesson-planning-569/
    Two points that I’d add to your review since they’re pet peeves of mine;
    1. You can mix grade levels easily. Many of us will (for example) use 3rd grade language arts with 4th grade math. You can do many of the adjustments youself, even on a daily basis: http://www.time4learning.com/hints/hints_change_ed_level.shtml
    2. Time4Learning provides telephone or email support which can be invaluable in figuring out problems. They sometimes will help with computer problems that aren’t even related to them. There’s also a good parent forum which is very active and full of advice: http://www.time4learning.net

  3. TaderDoodles says:

    Sandra- Thank you so much for reading my review and taking time to comment. The first forum link on planning was one I had never visited, good ideas in there! I had found other forum posts on the subject. The forum is so packed with information it takes a while to get through it all!
    I love that I have access to multiple levels for each one of my girls. I also love that I can “on the fly” adjust their access to the playground.
    I have only used the email support once, with initial access issues. It was very quickly resolved!
    Thanks so much Sandra for commenting 🙂
    Lisa

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