School at the computer and through online resources is becoming more and more prevalent in our technological culture. What I think about this trend is a topic for a different post, but in the past month I got the privilege of reviewing a leader in this field.
Time4Learning is an online educational curriculum which covers a variety of school subjects, such as Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science and, newly added, Art. It targets students from Preschools to grade 12.
Time4Learning can be used as a complete curriculum, or as an after-school supplement. It requires a log in and you have a choice between lower or upper level.
It is a subscription-based program costing:
$19.95/month for Preschool through to grade 8
$30/month for High School (4 Courses)
Time4Learning is very comprehensive in its scope and very interactive in its form. The student's attention is kept focused on the topic at hand.
Something to note about Time4Learning is the flexibility you have, when you sign up for a particular grade, to be able to go up or down a grade, according to the need of your child. For us homeschoolers this can show itself to be a blessing. I was able to actually take advantage of that since my son is at grade level on some topics and ahead in some others.
I opted to use this program with my 7.5 year old son who is in 3rd grade. He loves the computer but does not always do well with online programs. We used it almost daily for a few weeks, then scaled back to a few times weekly.
He did well in the science and language parts of the program and in only some parts of the Math. He did like the games, but did not like it when there were things to print to do on paper. He also did not like the fact that if it happened to time out, when you went back, it would not be the same exercises necessarily coming up.
What he enjoyed the most, of course, was the reward of the playground time, available within the program, and which the parent get to set. His was set to be available after a session was completed, so he would work hard to get it done.
What I liked was the flexibility given to the parent to customize a lot of the aspects of the program. I also liked the extent of the topics being taught. Even though a lot of it is taught in a very entertaining manner, the content is still there.That said, not all of it is taught in a game fashion. Some parts are plain lectures with interactive pictures and some are plain text to read or listen to. I really am not sure how much of the content is actually retained but the students are certainly exposed to lots of material. I think the format works better for some topics than others though, as least as far as my son's learning is concern.
Something else I love is that it is a very independent program. The lessons are taught, then you are given exercises, or the topic is taught through games. The only subject, Joho had to call me for was for Math because, and I personally found it so, the way to answer the questions was a bit confusing at times.
For each topic the student get tested at the end of the session, which allows you, the teacher, as well as the child himself, to gauge how much they have learned.
All in all Time4Learning is a very entertaining and engaging way to do school. Most kids would enjoy most of the subjects being taught through it. It is certainly an excellent add-on to whatever you are already using as your main curriculum in these subjects. As you get higher in the grade though, there is more reading that listening and for some kids that could be a turn off.
From Johann himself: "I like it, sometimes it bugged on me though. I like it because it's fun and you get to play at the playground at the end of a lesson."