Last year our family reviewed Time 4 Learning, setting up trial accounts for my two girls so they could check it out. But when my little guy (who was almost 3 years old at the time) saw all the bright colors, animations, fun sound effects, etc, he really wanted to participate, so I set him up an account. Trouble was, there really wasn’t much he could do on his own, so big sisters helped him navigate through some of the lower level topics.
This year I was informed that we would be reviewing Time 4 Learning’s new Preschool program which was completed in October 2009. Just as I suspected, Levi was excited to check it out, so off we went to re-activate his account. Upon logging in, we found the same user friendly format, bright colors and fun sound effects that originally caught his attention, but we found so much more than that!
The preschool program is divided into PreK 1 which starts with the basics and PreK 2 which expands upon them.
While the thematic units are designed to advance in skill as the child works through them, I knew Levi, being the non-compliant, strong- willed scholar that he is wouldn’t go for doing them in order. So I just turned him loose to choose his own topics. Upon opening a thematic unit, the first activity is a Storybook which introduces the concepts to be covered in a storybook form. I showed him the box to click that made the storybook appear full screen which he loved. The characters and stories are really cute and definitely hold his attention. Levi had no problem clicking the arrow in the corner to turn the pages once the current one had finished reading. Just like his real books, he went back through many of the books several times.
I was able to guide Levi in going through the storybook first, and he did naturally progress through the next activities in order from left to right, which helped him sequence through the chosen unit his first time through. Once he completed all of the acivities within a unit, a large red checkmark appeared over the box. He was able to revisit his favorite activities as much as he wanted, reworking those that he enjoyed most as much as he wanted.
I was really happy to see the large variety of activities used in different combinations (aside from the storybook being first in each unit) which helped hold Levi’s interest and kept him from getting bored just doing the same thing over and over.
Here’s a list of the different activity formats from the website:
*Storybook: The storybook activities introduce a new idea in the form of a story. Children listen to the story (reading along if they are ready) and turn the pages until they reach the end. To mark these activities as complete, the child must reach the last page of the story.
*Showtime: The showtime activities introduce a new idea in the form of a video with an interactive exploratory at the end. Children watch the video, which may contain a song or a story, and then explore further with a reinforcing interactive. At any time the video can be paused, started over, or fast-forwarded to the interactive. To mark these activities as complete, the child must watch the entire video. They are not required to do the interactive to mark the activity as complete.
*Which is Which: The Which is Which activities reinforce thematic concepts in the form of a game show, hosted by a Pompadour-wearing penguin, by asking the children classify theme-related objects and ideas. To mark these activities as complete, the child must complete each round of four questions.
*Stories By You: These activities allow children to create their own theme-related story plot. Granny Worm guides the children through a series of questions that help decide where their story will go and then she reads the story. To mark these activities as complete, the child must reach the last page of their story.
*Patterns: The pattern activities will teach pattern recognition and pattern-making using theme-related objects. These activities are guided by Patty the butterfly and her friend Pilar the caterpillar. To mark these activities as complete, the child must complete eight patterns correctly.
*Puzzles: Hosted by the wacky monkey Jojo, the puzzle activities reinforce theme related activities while giving the children practice with deductive reasoning and problem-solving skills. To mark these activities as complete, the child must complete the puzzle.
*Story Recall: Hosted by book-lover Granny Worm, the story recall activities ask children to recall information from the previous storybook activity, encouraging the child to remember and dissect the details of a story. To mark these activities as complete, the child must answer four questions about the story.
*Syllable Drum: These activities teach children to recognize syllables by practicing with one to three syllable theme-related words, using a drum to beat out the syllables. To mark these activities as complete, the child must beat the drum to up to six words of varying syllables.
*Memory Match: These activities reinforce theme-related ideas by asking the children to flip and match cards, using audio and visual clues, and their memory. To mark these activities as complete, the child must reveal all available cards.
*Match It: The match-it activities ask children to "draw a line" between objects, comparing and contrasting theme-related objects. To mark these activities as complete, the child must make all matches in each round correctly.
*Brainy Bots: Hosted by a young robot, these activities reinforce thematic concepts in the form of a computer quiz show called Brainy Bots. To mark these activities as complete, the child must answer each question correctly.
*Paint It: The painting activities allow the children to "color" any of four theme-related pictures which is not only fun and great mouse-practice; it also reinforces the names of the colors as they paint. To mark these activities as complete, the child must only select "yes" to the opening question. All pictures do not need to be completed for the activity to mark as complete.
*Ordering: These activities give children practice in ordering by asking children to put theme-related objects in order based on different characteristics. To mark these activities as complete, the child must put each item in place properly.
*Find It: These activities, hosted by Ed Mouse, reinforce thematic concepts by asking the child to help Ed find and pick out theme-related objects. To mark these activities as complete, the child must find all eight items.
*Click It: These activities reinforce the thematic concepts by giving children fun, interactive practice with theme-related ideas. To mark these activities as complete, the child must reach the congratulatory screen or in the case of the printable weekly planner, they only need to select "yes" to the opening question.
*Idea Book: These activities present children with ideas that they can use offline to extend their online learning activities and fun. To mark these activities as complete, the child must read the last page of the idea book.
Levi enjoyed most of the actvities, but really liked the Brainy-Bot where a little robot would roll out from the side of the screen. He would give a little scream each time the robot came out and the girls would laugh.
For the parents, there is a reports section which tracks how many times an activity has been done and the date of the most recent visit. The parent can also preview the lesson. Future enhancements to the program are planned to include educational objectives, detailed activity descriptions, and ability to print the matieral. Cool huh?
Levi gives this program , and I would definitely recommend it to those looking for something of educational value to occupy your preschooler with while working with your other kids. I am thinking about continuing our subscription for one or two more months to occupy Levi while we complete our school year, which will cost us $19.95 per month . For those who want accounts for more than one child, that would be $19.95 per month for first child, and $14.95 for each additional child. This could be quite costly for a large family, or to use for an extended period of time.
Time 4 Learning wouldn’t work on our AOL Browser, but was no problem on Internet Explorer.
Check out what my Crewmates thougt of Time 4 Learning Preschool on the Crew blog!
Our family was given a free month membership to Time 4 Learning Preschool for review purposes as a part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. No other compensation was received, and opinions expressed here are our own.