Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Time for Learning Review

How many of us are looking for lessons written out and ready to go?  Well, I wasn't....but didn't realize I actually did.  Brayden is one of my harder ones to write lessons for, and I had actually given him the option to go to online public school this year because he is so picky!  But he asked for Time 4 Learning, and we were fortunate to be given the opportunity to review Time 4 Learning.

Brayden has been so excited to be given the chance to use this online learning program.  Time 4 Learning is an online education program for grades Preschool through .... now High School.  It teaches lessons in a sequence that allows students to continually build on what is learned.  It does the grading and even has printable reports for parents.

Time 4 Learning can be used as full curriculum, after-school learning, or even as supplemental work.
The lessons are laid out in order under a Scope and Sequence page, so my weekly planning for Brayden has been made very easy.

Brayden loves online games, and I really think that he feels like he is learning through games.  In fact, there has been several times where I gave him his daily assignments only to discover that he worked ahead in a certain area or he was curious and skipped ahead in another subject area.

This is one of my favorite points about using Time 4 Learning, he can work independently on some subjects.  The lessons in most subject areas are also read to him, which he really needs.  It makes him feel good when it grades his Language Arts quiz and show how he done.  I also love hearing him laugh at the weird jokes that they tell.

When we started using this program, my weeks start out by looking at the above lesson plans.  Each subject area is laid out, and includes important items such as reading comprehension, vocabulary and parts of speech.  We started out in Grade 5, but the flexibility that Time 4 Learning offers allowed us to move him to reviewing Grade 4 topics that he had regressed in.  So I make a daily list for him to complete.

Each subject area is broken down into chapters and the lessons are broken down into smaller units.  You decide what amount that you think your student will complete each day.  I base this on the subject and his attention span.

There is also an activity scheduler that shows you what amount students should complete each day if you want them to finish areas in a specific amount of time.

I make him a list of what he should do daily.  He is able to use the numbers I give him to find his lessons easily in his portfolio.

Time 4 Learning does not leave parents figuring this out on their own.  They include lots of videos to help parents learn how to use the portal to the fullest extent.  The one thing I really wish that Time 4 Learning would include is a lesson plan builder.  So that I could simply mark assignments he should complete daily and this would appear in his portfolio area.  I could save paper and ink doing his weekly lessons.  This is a shot of the parent planning portal.

Currently, I plan a 5 day week for him and like I mentioned earlier he has been able to do most subjects independently.  The lessons are read to him and this is essential for Brayden to understand.  So I really like the game type style of the language arts and math areas.  The only areas that he has required one-on-one with mom is science and social studies.  So I have him work independently in the areas that he can, and then I sit down with him to cover the other subjects.  I go through the screens with him and read/explain the areas where he is struggling.

I have been very impressed with the amount of information that is covered in each area, especially science and social studies.  Extra projects to really bring the information out for the kids are provided in each area.  Science experiments are included.  I was told once by a parent that Time 4 Learning needs to be really supplemented and not used as a full curriculum, and I have found this statement to be incorrect.  Lydia and I studied about the French and Indian War over a year ago, and I have been surprised by a few facts that we even missed that are included by Time 4 Learning.

I do wish that there was a "Read to Me" feature on the science and social studies slides that would allow this material to be read to Brayden.  This would really help those with special needs in reading.  Not that I don't enjoy doing these subjects with Brayden, but to see his grin when he gets a good grade on the material that is read to him in the other subjects areas is priceless.  This small task of completing the work as it's read to him, helps him realize that he can do subjects on his own....with minimal help from me.  Even if Mom is just in the room, and not over his shoulder helping all the time.

Another concern that I have heard from parents is that they do not want their children on the computer all the time.  Yes, Time 4 Learning is an online program.  And that is a concern for me.  It does leave Brayden extra, but at least he is learning.  To be honest, he is really not increasing his online time that much.  I could actually print the slides for his science and history and we could do those not on the computer.  The other concern comes from the fact that we are sort of "tied" to the computer.  But even using online public schools, leaves you tied to the computer.

I like the flexibility that Time 4 Learning does offer for Brayden.  He is more confident in completing his work.  He is getting a full education, and I am saving time on writing out lessons.

Some of my favorite points with Time 4 Learning:

  • Flexibility in amount of work covered each day
  • Flexibility in making some subjects harder and some subject easier (if he is in 5th grade, can do 4th and 6th grade work also)
  • Large amount of facts and information included in all subjects
  • Bright and colorful screens that keep his attention
  • Short lessons that build upon each other so his attention span is not maxed in every area
  • He can cover a large amount of work in a short amount of time

So the question is......Will we continue using Time 4 Learning with Brayden?  YES!!!  I believe that we have found the answer to our educational dilemma with Brayden!  He has been making steady progress these last few weeks, and that is AWESOME!!!!  I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to try this program for Brayden again.  I would recommend this program to other parents as well.

Time 4 Learning offers a 14 day free trial of their program.  So if you are still on the fence about using it, spend some time using it as a supplement to see if your child will thrive on it the way Brayden has.

Time 4 Learning does come with a 19.95 per month fee.  That is for one student.  If you have multiple children that will be using this program, they do offer a discount of 5.00 off per student....so each extra student is $14.95 per month.  High School is now offered at a cost of $30.00 per month.  Time 4 Learning even offers and Art program now!!!

I know that this will be an added expense for us, but we will definitely be continuing Time 4 Learning for Brayden.  He is doing well and we want to keep this momentum going.  This cost might seem a lot, but look at what is spent on purchasing individual books and other materials.  So I think it is going to be a good  fit.

Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out various levels of Time 4 Learning.  See how they used this program in their homes and how it worked for them


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