Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Time4Learning - Review

Time4Learning.com offers bloggers a free month long trial, of their educational supplement website, in exchange for an honest review. As a homeschooling mother, free use an educational website is too good to turn down, so I happily signed up, this summer, while we didn't have much else going on.

The trial was limited to four children. I registered C (age 5), E (age 6), D (age 8), and G (age 12), so we could check out the Kindergarten through Junior High levels of the site. The sign-up, and log in process was easy, and the lesson instructions were simple enough, even my youngest could follow them on her own. Which was good, because I found the "cartoony" voices of the instructors, a bit grating.

To begin with, C and E were quite excited to have new "school" work, and spent several hours a day working through lessons, and playing games (parents set the amount of lesson time, that must be completed, before games can be played). While we working through our space theme, D was happy enough to work on a few, space themed, lessons in the 3rd grade science section, as long as I let him stay up from nap, to do them. G spent one afternoon, at my request, exploring, and working through lessons. Her opinion was that it was "okay", but she was not willing to try it out more than once.

After a week, in fact, all the children had lost interest, and even the younger girls had stopped asking if they could log in. In fairness, I should say, I don't think this was necessarily the fault of the website, but rather a testimony to how many excellent, educational, websites and software there are available for children.

While the children, the younger children especially, found Time4Learning educational, fun, and easy to use, they did not find it superior to their JumpStart, PBSkids, or BrainPop experiences.

I could go on, giving a breakdown of all of the features of the program, but you can find that on the Time4Learning website. In my opinion, they present their program accurately.

But, my advice, before jumping into a subscription service, is to check out what you can find for less, or for free. This is one case where paying less, does not necessarily mean getting less.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Christy Killoran said...

Great review! Thanks.

Ticia said...

I rather suspected that would be the case

Jennifer said...

BrainPop--excellent site. Wish it were less pricey.

Debbie said...

We tried Time4Learning, and had similar experiences once the newness wore off.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

This is a fair review. We tried T4L last year, and I found the pace of instruction mind-numbingly slow. Interestingly, Anna's school uses the sites I've never heard about. It will be interesting to test them out when we get logins.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a homeschooler, or even a stayathome mum.......I am an Australian grandmother who looks after Simon, aged 4, and Holly, aged 6, (before and after school, in Holly's case)
I don't remember how I found your website, but it's been a godsend! I can't thank you enough for the wonderful suggestions and ideas that you've given me.....it has helped so much to know that we're doing creative things rather than just passing the time!

Amy Dingmann said...

Great review. We tried T4L a few years ago when we first started homeschooling and while the kids liked it, we found for it to be worth the price (for us), we had to actually be on the computer quite often. (Sounds obvious when you write it out, I know.) I just really felt to get our money's worth, we had to trade outside stuff and experiments and other "stuff" for "We should really do this online stuff because we paid for it..." Not a fault of t4L, just something we hadn't really considered.

Eddie said...

We had a similar experience earlier this year - my 10 year old flat-out refused to log in any more after a few tries, because the voices drove her nuts and she was mad that science and history didn't offer anything she couldn't find on the internet for free.

My preschooler, however, loved it and is still asking for it (and therefore annoyed with me for not keeping it).