Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time4Learning (a TOS review)




I’ve seen Time 4 Learning advertised everywhere.  Seriously.  Everywhere!  And every time I’ve seen the little ad I get the itch.  But I’m a recovering curriculum junkie so I tried really hard to resist the urge.  And then I was given the opportunity to review this product as part of my role with TOS!  This is where I disclaim to you that all three of my children were granted one month memberships of this product at no cost in return for an honest and timely review on this blog.     


Okay…let’s start with…


The Basics


  • Time 4 Learning is a web-based educational program with a motto of “Homeschool, Afterschool, Summer Study”.
  • Time 4 Learning targets children from preschool through 8th grade.   
  • Time 4 Learning is a monthly membership fee of $19.95 for the first child and $14.95 for each additional child.  You do have a 14 day money back guarantee window. 
  • Because Time 4 Learning is web-based, you can access your profile(s) from any compatible computer.  That means at Grandma’s House too!
  • I like that if you’re not sure where to place your child, T4L offers a questionnaire to help guide that choice.  
  • Because I’m an iPad junkie, I feel compelled to mention that as of this post there is not an “ap for that” and the iPad does not support flash. 


The Test Drive


Toby’s (the 5th Grader) take…




He thought the graphics and music were very cool.  The humor was right on target for tween-agers.  Honestly, even I enjoyed sitting with him.  Of the three levels we trialed…5th Grade was my personal favorite.  Everything just seemed really cool and fun.  And the academics were challenging but not too much to induce complaining.  Would I use this for a core curriculum?  I don’t know.  For Toby it might work.  And really $240 for a whole 12 months of curriculum isn’t that much money.  Based on this trial, it will definitely be in the back of my mind for next year.  But only for Toby.         





Bristel pretty much hated everything but the playground when it came to her level.  But remember, she did recently declare “education is her enemy”.  Soooooo… 




She loved the movie making thing-a-ma-bob on the playground and that served well as a motivator to keep plugging away at the things she wasn’t so interested in. 




I loved how in Language Arts there was a virtual book for her to independently read.  If she got stuck, she could simply click on the word and the voice-over would give her the answer.  I thought the graphics were well done and captivating.  I thought the content was good.


Honestly, I really liked it.  But would I use it for her?  Probably not.  Bristel likes things in 3D.  Things she can touch, taste, snuggle up on the couch next to mommy with.  And while I thought T4L was great…it was easy to see that it wouldn’t be the right fit for her.  At least not for right now. 



Trevy (the preschooler) on the other hand, got totally giggle giddy as soon as he saw his lesson screen…






He LOVED the preschool songs and would choose “buh” (see the little yellow bus peeking out there at the bottom of the screen?) immediately.  Some of the academic concepts were over his head, but I don’t mind that.  I like things that stretch him (and me).






The Yes No smile faces are brilliant for children with special needs who need to learn the concept of answering Yes and No questions!





The only real bummer is he could not use this program independently.  Trevy has not yet learned how to function the mouse which is why it’s a bummer that T4L isn’t compatible with the iPad yet.  He’s a Pad Pro.  I’m certain if he could have used this program with a touch based interface, it would have been an even bigger success!  But because his use was limited to my availability, he didn’t get to spend as much time as he’d have liked with it.


So I’d have to say, until we either get a flash compatible tablet or an iPad app for Time4Learning becomes available…I probably wouldn’t buy a membership for him. 



The Summary


Overall, I really like Time4Learning.  I think it could work as a core curriculum if you have a child that stays engaged with all things technology rich.  One of the best parts, in my opinion, is the web-based aspect.  At least one day a week my kiddos will hang with Grams while I run errands or Trevy to therapy.  Schlepping school stuff back and forth can be a hassle.  Time4Learning eliminates the schlepping.  And that’s a good thing!  It is a little pricey for our budget to use as a supplement.  But I’m happy we were given the chance to test drive the program.  It’ll certainly be in the mix for next year’s curriculum selections.     

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