Homeschooling with Time4Learning
Subject: Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies
Levels Used: 2-6 (oldest started in 2, currently in 6), PreK-1 (youngest started in PreK, currently in 1)
Dates Used: March 2007 to present
We have been homeschooling since the fall of 2005, and using Time4Learning since March of 2007. Even though I thought bookwork and book based curricula wouldn't work for us (I'm a gadget junkie attached to my computer, figured my kids would be too), we still tried them and plugged away as long as we could in a workbook based, box curriculum.
I stumbled across Time4Learning one day, quite by accident, and we honestly haven't looked back since. The program is for grade levels K-8 and it covers Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. There is a monthly fee, but having checked out other online programs to price compare, I can say that the fee is extremely reasonable! We use it as our core curriculum, and supplement when we need or want to. But I know of other families who use it as a supplement.
Both of the boys like the animations (even though there are fewer of those as the grade levels get higher) and like how interactive and engaging the program is. My youngest likes the playground that he can access when he's done with his lessons for the day.
As far as my likes, there are so many to list. But I can concentrate on the factors that made it fit my family perfectly:
The first is it's an online program. A lot of programs require you to download their program, or at least a part of their program, to be able to use it. With Time4Learning, there is nothing to download. What does that mean for us? It means that the boys aren't restricted to just one computer to work on. If we travel they can use one of our laptops, or even our little netbook. If they are visiting grandparents, they don't have to take a computer with them.
The next like is the fact that it can be self-directed. While I can go through the lesson plans and assign specific lessons if I chose to, I don't have to. The program is set up in a way that there are arrows pointing the way to what the boys need to work on next. It shows them what they have completed and where they have to go. Even my youngest could hop online and get started all on his own when he started PreK. This is a huge convenience for us. If something comes up, or if I have to spend a little extra time with one child, I don't have to worry about the other one getting a late start or getting behind.
Finally, the record keeping aspect of the program. This is probably my most favorite like. I am not an organized person by nature. The thought of trying to keep up with everything that the boys do is pretty much terrifying for me. The record keeping that Time4Learning does for me is a life saver. All I have to do to print off records for their portfolios is log on and decide what I want to print. I can chose to print a report for a specific subject, for a specific date range - daily, weekly, monthly. It's all up to me and however I want to keep my files organized.
As far as dislikes, the only complaint I can make is that it doesn't go past 8th grade.