Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Time4Learning - A quick review

Our homeschool was presented with the opportunity to try out Time4Learning free for a month. In return, I promised to write a review.


Sometimes short and sweet is more efficient than wordy and polished looking. I'm going with short and sweet today.

I have heard many good things about Time4Learning (T4L for short during this review). A homeschooling friend of mine uses it for her three children, and they love it. I was eager to try it out in our little homeschool! I have two children, one in 1st grade and one in 7th grade. Each child is "split level" with his or her learning (my 1st grader does 2nd grade math, my 7th grader does 8th grade literature and math). T4L's ability to move up or down a grade level sounded GREAT! It sounded like something I could easily customize for my children.

So, here are my Pros and Cons of T4L:

  1. The kids love playing games to learn. Much of the content on T4L is presented in a fun way. The kids enjoyed that.
  2. Once the kids understood a concept, working through their modules on T4L seemed less tedious than practicing the concepts on paper (a great tool for my kinesthetic learner!)
  3. It was nice to take a break from teaching the kids!

  1. I found setting up everything was not very user friendly. I searched FAQ's everywhere on that site trying to find ways to customize learning plans, and I really couldn't find much other than setting up their initial grade levels. I ended up just having the kids click on areas of their pages that would teach them a new concept (leaving other areas incomplete).
  2. Looking at reports was also difficult. Since I couldn't figure out how to delete certain lessons, I couldn't get the site to recognize the lessons the kids had completed.
  3. Some of the new concepts weren't "taught". I felt that the kids were thrown into the concept. For example, my first grader ran into subtraction with borrowing. The site didn't teach him how to do it. I walked him through the steps and concepts, and then he ran through the exercises.
All that being said, I would only use Time4Learning as a supplement to our homeschool. I think it would actually  make a great supplement to our curriculum. Unfortunately the price tag for the site is higher than I would ever pay for a supplement.

I might have had a better experience with the program if I could have navigated my area in a more efficient manner. I think a more thorough FAQ or help section would be GREATLY beneficial.

Legal stuff:

**I've been invited to try Time4Learning in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so come back and read about my experiences. For more information, check out their online curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review.**

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Busy busy busy!

I have decided that I need to come up with a schedule that allows me to actually blog. I always have good intentions, then this whirlwind I like to call "life" catches me..and WEEEEE...

...I show up a month later with no posting. Egads! I'll be working on that this week.

It's spring break time around here. I wasn't going to take spring break for our homeschool, but I think I am now. We took yesterday off to go to an amusement park with a friend, and today was mainly spent playing "catch up" on the house (the kids DID get a few lessons done, though!). I think I'll take the rest of the week to reorganize everything, and get some schedules laid out.

We are in the process of wrapping up our school year. Our required testing is done (waiting on the results), our books for next year are purchased (lesson planning comes next), and we can see a light at the end of the tunnel for all of our activities. This of course means it's time to start scrambling around making plans for all the activities we are going to do next year.

Or does it?

I have realized something this spring. We are BUSY.


Way too busy!

The funny part is, we don't HAVE to be so busy. We have chosen this madness. Somewhere I decided it was vital to do a little bit of everything (big eye roll).

So I think next year is going to be SLOW. We already have one major commitment, which will be taking up two days of our week. I think that's going to be it (except for our music lessons). Both of these activities lean heavily on either Bible study or serving in the church, so I think that's okay.

But seriously. Do we have to be so busy? Does it REALLY improve our children's lives? I remember always having the free time to go fishing with my dad just about every weekend. Some of my fondest memories come from fishing with Dad. By scurrying around staying busy, we're missing memories like that.

I'm tired of missing memories. TIME TO UNBUSY! (Yes, I made that word up!)

On another note...
I'll be reviewing Time4Learning in my next post (I'll be working on that tonight). Until then...