Monday, December 15, 2008

TOS Review: Time 4 Learning

Time 4 Learning calls itself : "Homeschool Curriculum, After School Learning, Summer Use For Preschool, Elementary, & Middle School Students." Curriculum is available for grades Preschool through 8th grade. They combine online learning with "fun educational and teaching games." The Language Arts and Math cover state standards for each of the grades. This is a secular homeschool provider.

I did a free trial with grades: K, 1, 3, and 8th. My daughter did find the 8th grade math difficult so I had her do the 7th grade math. The language arts she found just right academically. My daughter did not like the language arts because of the language and slang used during the lesson. One time the girl said OMG! Taking the Lord's name in vain. She got to the point in it that she muted the sound and was still able to answer the questions correctly. We do Switched on Schoolhouse, and she is always muting the computer programs, so that is not uncommon for her. She did some science and history and skipped the evolution topics.

For Kindergarten and 1st grade, I really liked the program. They followed public school standards (I checked) teaching phonics progressively. I like how they slowly introduced each letter. The only thing on this level is that if they don't do well, it still moves them forward to the next lesson. This is were parents come in to watch carefully how they are progressing and repeating exercises as necessary. The math was done well too. I do felt if was a little slow in making progress, but good overall. The boys did well. They learned fractions, counting money, telling time, addition, measurement etc. There is no science in Kindergarten, but in first grade there is. The problem I have with it is for a non reader, the quiz is not read to them, so if he does not tell me when he comes to the quiz, he does poorly on them.

For 3rd grade, I was a little disappointed. I was pleased at the educational aspect of it. But some of the stories my son could not relate to (detention) and some stories I felt were encouraging students to disrespect adults. The comprehension section has been helpful for him. The math section has challenged him (in a good way.) They do have science and history at this level. These are not automatically read to the student and you must have a plug in if you need it read to the student. On one computer we used we were unable to download the plug in.

My boys have really liked using this program and have asked numerous times and even on weekends to do "school on the computer." I do plan on continuing it with them for as long as I am able to afford it.

Like I said, this is a secular curriculum. So you have to deal with evolution, bad attitudes, and the rare discussion of bodily functions (animal and human.) I did not see these at the k and 1st grade levels. Time 4 Learning I do believe is trying to make this as homeschool Christian friendly as possible. They have a parent forum and have started a discussion just for this topic. I always tried to be in the same room with the students when they were using the program. We skipped any lesson with evolution in it. Evolution doesn't scare me, because they do understand the truth. However I am cautious at the upper levels of the program. Starting to see some attitudes, etc, I didn't like in 3rd grade.

Is this a complete curriculum? I don't think any curriculum could truly call themselves complete. However with some supplementation (handwriting, journaling, math drill, daily reading, etc.) this could definitely be good base. There is a lot of support for homeschoolers to use the curriculum. There is also a parent forum to discuss anything from supplementing to discussing material covered to parent support for homeschooling. Visiting and posting on the forum is free and you don't have to be using the curriculum to check it out and ask specific questions about the website.
Time 4 Learning cost approx. $19.95 for the first student and approx. $14.95 for the second. If you email them they do offer discounts if you pay quarterly and by the year.
My contact with Time 4 Learning has been positive. They are eager to work with Christian Homeschoolers.

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