Time 4 Learning is an online home education program.
The online language arts and math comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.
I saw that several of my Crew mates already knew about this website, and several had been subscribers. The talk around the Crew "water cooler" was positive and exciting, and many were chomping at the bit to get started. Due to the initial excitment of the program, I waited to register our accounts until a time I knew we had time to devote to it.
Now my initial impression was actually not the greatest. We started with registering and setting up Morgan’s account which is the "upper level." This was too easy, and we logged on and dove right into Language Arts. I was quite taken aback by the rude humor and fart jokes. While my girls sat laughing they both stated "this seems to be ‘public school’ domain." That’s what we call it when they see other children who don’t have the good fortune to be taught manners and respect at home. Now before you label us a "goody-two-shoes" family,let me clarify that we spend much time laughing to the point of tears among ourselves. And yes, sometimes it’s because someone burped or farted. But I believe these should be kept at home or among good friends, and not taught purposefully in the classroom. I must say that it seemed rather "public school" to use rude humor to try and capture the student’s attention and make the site "exciting". I do understand and see it as an attempt to make the work "fun" and not seem so much like "work." I just feel there’s an appropriate time and place for everything. Yes, they are learning in the privacy of their own home here, but the "teachers" here are not setting the example that I care for my children to copy.
That being said, Morgan did really enjoy the "cartoon" setup and progression of the lessons.
So on to the lower level setup for Taylor. We really enjoyed the lower level and didn’t see the same rude humor here. Both of the girls did mention the Evolution-based theories to science. I was certainly thrilled with their showing their Creation-based colors in this recognition!! Time4Learning has proven successful for our family in a couple of ways that they might not have meant to be, LOL.
I do like the idea of a program that the girls can use independentally the two days a week that I am away from the home playing doctor. I’ve worked hard to organize and schedule their school so they can work independently on those days and still accomplish our goals, and I do feel a program like Time 4 Learning would help in our situation, as I can set assignments for them and easily monitor their progress. So far I’ve not set assignments, but just told them to use the site for at least an hour trying to do something in each of the 4 areas, Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies so that I could evaluate their preferences and levels, etc. I will again mention that I was a bit reluctant to let them use the site without me being present to diffuse the rude humor. We did talk in much detail about this, however, and so if nothing else it served as a springboard for good character and manner discussions!
Now two year old Levi being the computer whiz he is, was a bit disappointed that he wasn’t given a chance to try this out. After seeing that there was a preschool level, I noticed that several members of the crew were mentioning their preschoolers experiences. So I emailed Time 4 Learning and asked if my little guy could try it out and they graciously set him up an account as well. Their customer service is wonderful! Now I will definitely give the preschool program KUDOS!! It’s often tough to find appropriate things on his level to occupy him while we are working on school. While I do sit with him as he uses this, he can navigate it very easily leaving me open for teaching the girls. The other great thing is that on the days I’m gone the girls can work on this with him. They LOVE to do "Baby school" with Levi, and have added this as part of his "curriculum". They are really awesome little teachers, and I have sure seen much growth in Morgan, Taylor and Levi from their time together.
My next thoughts on this program deal with the cost. I have seen many who are happy to use this as core curriculum and feel the price is a good fit for their family. For our family, the price is pretty much out of the question right now since it doesn’t fit our guidelines for core curriculum. The first student is $19.95 per month with additional students being $14.95. This makes it $49.85 per month for my three, which is the cost of our homeschool choir and violin (without the addition of the tank of gas it takes to get there and back, LOL). For my family at this time, $50 per month is out of the question for a supplemental program, especially with our core curriculum already being a computer based program, and the girls alotting much of their free computer time to other favorite computer-based programs. Of course if you do the math, that’s $598.20 per year for three students if you pay monthly *ouch*.
Now they do have some specials on pricing; if you pay for twelve months at once, your fee is only $169.95 for each child. That’s only $509.85 per year for my three. *ouch again.* Of course they do have some deals for referral of friends and reviews, etc.
We will certainly be enjoying our time at Time 4 Learning with this trial membership, and feel grateful for our experience with it. It will be nice to know this tool is in my toolbox if needed.