Friday, November 19, 2010

The Review Post...

I’ve been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion is entirely my own. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

We have been using Time 4 Learning for a month now. It was easy to get started with it. Sign up and everything is right there. You choose the grade level to have your child start with, each subject can be set to different levels. When the grade level is chosen you and your child will have the grade before and the grade after to choose lessons from.

My son would be in 2nd grade in public school and so I started us there with everything. He tried a lesson from each one and then I adjusted the levels for him. Math is the easy one, changed that to 3rd grade and while some of it was review most of it is new and he enjoyed it. Science I raised him a level and this was where I could see that in 3rd grade you are expected to "read to learn" rather than "learn to read" The concepts were at the right level, but since his reading is not there yet I was reading each passage to him. In the 3rd grade math there is the option to have the computer read the text to you, this was not offered in the science lessons.

As we moved on through the month I noticed we had stopped using the Language Arts portion entirely (we had a reading melt down during this month), the math we used regularly and he really seemed to enjoyed it. I used it to supplement what was in our purchased curriulum for math. We also did either a Science or Social Studies lesson or two each day.

The Social Studies lessons were easy for him and enjoyable. They started conversations on what is the difference between wants and needs. Last summer we took a family vacation to Washington, D.C. so much of the national monument and presidential lessons were review for him. He doesn't tolerate repeated lessons well but these had enough new information that while he went quickly through them he didn't dismiss them out of hand.

Overall I think the curriculum is interesting and varied enough that there were plenty of ways for my boy to learn the subjects.

There is a 'playground' area that has many different games to play. One of the things you can do is go to Brain Pop Jr and have full access. This is a site that usually costs an additional subscription fee. It was nice to get to use some of it. They also have action, puzzle, and 2 player
games. As well as links to other educational sites. The playground is set up so I can put an amount of time he must work on lessons before he can go there, as well as how long he can be in the playground.

I was confused by a button that said "This means you have an assignment", which seemed to indicate I should be able to assign lessons for him to go to, but that function doesn't work with Time 4 Learning. It was easy to find the information out in the FAQ. Their FAQ was thorough enough for the information I was looking for. I did not have to send an email in to ask for help.

The one 'problem' I ran into was the only internet browser I could get the site to work with was Internet Explorer. I don't use IE much anymore, so it was kind of a pain to switch to a different browser when we may have been using another site for other information.

Overall I thought it was a good supplement to what I'm doing. I don't think we could use it as a stand alone curriculum. We are too eclectic and I like pulling from many sources. I do think this would work really well as an 'after school' review kind of thing also.

The Boy doesn't want to give a review right now. All he will say at the moment is "It is boring because it is boring". I explained that isn't a review, it isn't helpful information. I will say he did learn and I have seen the melt downs that happen when he is really bored with something, or frustrated with it. I did see it with the reading portions. He was frustrated and did not want to continue. I also saw it when the math was not at the right level and the lessons were about things he already knew. We did not see that with the Math, Science, or Social Studies portions once we found the right level. Reading is our trouble subject and I don't think it would matter what level we were on. The reading program seems to be a phonics based program and repeating sounds it sure to bring on a fit.

My guess is next week or the week after I'm going to face a sad boy again because he will want to do something with "Ed Mouse" and he won't be available.

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