We were given the opportunity to start this school year with a one-month membership to Time 4 Learning, for the purpose of review. I have to say the program exceeded my expectations, and we may be subscribing to it in the future. My kids really enjoyed the program, and they looked forward to doing it as a treat either after or in place of their regular subjects.
The Time 4 Learning program is a Pre-K through 8th-grade online curriculum that can be used as a stand-alone homeschool program, a supplement, or even an after-school program for students in public or private school. While it seems to be sufficient as an independent curriculum, I would also recommend it as extra practice or even as a supplement in place of hiring a tutor for a struggling learner. I used the program for my 8th-grader, my 6th-grader, and my 3rd-grader. They all said that it was entertaining, easy to use, and that all lessons were explained well. My 8th-grader, who hates math, said that this program explained the mathematical concepts more clearly than other methods that we have used, and that he felt like he understood more.
Here are some of the things I especially like about the program:
1) It is, overall, visually pleasing - bright colors, fun cartoons, easy-to-follow layout. The older kids can change their background color, and of course my daughter's is hot pink!
2) User-friendliness - My children and I are all able to navigate the screens easily and find what we are looking for.
3) Clarity - Instructions as well as lessons are clear and easy to understand. Concepts are explained well.
4) Interactivity - The kids are able to indicate whether they understand a lesson or need more explanation. Frequent questions and short quizzes keep them focused and assure that they are comprehending the lesson.
5) Effectiveness at reaching kids - The lessons are presented using cartoon representations, illustrations, sounds, game shows, etc., that attract and hold the attention of kids and preteens.
6) Parental reports - I can print out reports showing what my kids have done and how they scored.
7) Other parental resources - I can log into the parental account and quickly print off reading lists for Language Arts or supplies needed for science experiments. All required reading is included online, and other suggested reading is listed in case you want to pursue a topic at the library.
8) Ability of the kids to do the program themselves - I have the option of choosing whether to assign specific topics, or to let them work through it in order at their own pace. They would, of course, still need supervision on things like science experiments, and I would need to grade things like writing assignments and science labs that they keep in a separate notebook.
9) The lessons are correlated to state standards and have samples of practice standardized tests.
The curriculum covers Math, Language Arts, Language Arts Extensions (these are more in-depth literature and writing assignments), and Science and Social Studies (most grades). There is also a separate section for Art which was not available for review, and a "Playground" section that is even fun for the parents. The Playground section includes educational fun as well as just-for-fun activities, such as a 1980s-style game of Asteroids that could have occupied me for days! It also includes links to sites like "NASA For Kids," and as far as I could tell, the linked sites were still accessed from inside the program so that children could not view inappropriate ads or surf to other places on the Internet from inside those pages.
If you are looking for a program, either as a complete curriculum or as a supplement, that children will enjoy, that will enhance their learning, and that they can do largely on their own, this may be a good program for you. The only drawback for me personally, which is the case with any computer-based curriculum, is that I find my kids do get tired of sitting behind the computer for all of their subjects after a while, and we miss the interaction we get from doing units all together. For that reason, I would probably use this program either as a supplement, or for just some of my subjects. There are printable worksheets in some areas that could also be utilized.
You can see lesson demos and check out Time 4 Learning for yourself at http://www.time4learning.com/. The price is $19.95/mo for the first child and $14.95/mo for each additional child, and since that includes all the subjects, it is a good value for a complete curriculum. There is no contract, you may cancel at any time, and there is a two-week money-back guarantee.
To see what other members of the Crew have to say about Time 4 Learning, click HERE.
DISCLAIMER: I received a free month-long subscription to the Time 4 Learning website for the purposes of review. Nothing else was required, and all opinions are my own.