It's a great time to be a homeschooler. There has probably been no other point in recent homeschool history where parents taking this educational path have had more opportunities to implement a full and rich curriculum for their children. Still, it can be overwhelming to put a year's worth of material together for a student. How do you know what to choose for every subject? How do you plan out a school year? How do you keep records? How do you handle multiple students in multiple grades? What about teaching for varying learning styles? It can certainly be stressful. Fortunately, Time4Learning has considered these issues, and can help. They were kind enough to provide us with a 6 month subscription to their program use and review, so join me for a few minutes while I tell you about our experience.
Time4Learning is an online program that offers courses for students in PreK all the way through 12th grade. Subjects include:
* LANGUAGE ARTS
* SOCIAL STUDIES
They also offer electives in languages and writing, but we did not review those this time around.
Graphics introduce each activity section.
The lesson without the transcript.
The lesson with the transcript on the left.
My 9th grader has/is using the high school program. I've had her take a look at each subject in order to get an idea for the way each works, but she has focused most of her time on English and Social Studies. The format of the program is great for a range of learning styles. Each lesson in a subject includes fun graphics with audio and music, a video of the teacher that is providing the lecture, and an option to read the transcript of the lecture. My daughter likes that last feature, as it helps her focus and stay on track with a given lesson. There are more than one instructor for each subject, and they switch off every so often.
A history lesson.
She took a cursory glance at the math, which for us was geometry. We already have a current program that we're using, but wanted to check it out. It wasn't a great fit, as my teen found the instructor hard to follow. For example, she would give an instruction and then backtrack because she was correcting herself. Videos and graphics helped underscore the lessons.
We also have a science program that we're using, but looked at Time4Learning's biology course. The teacher was engaging and interesting, incorporating plenty of humor. He reminded me of a favorite science from my own high school days. Again, videos and graphics help reinforce the material.
There are separate log in's for parents and students. There is a good amount of help available for parents on the parent dashboard. You can create lesson plans, reports, and student planners. Also, you have access to one grade above your student's selected level, and one grade below. If you or your child is finding the material too easy or too difficult, you can easily make the switch without any fuss.
Time4Learning costs $30.00/ monthly per student for high school, and $19.95/monthly per student for PreK-8th. What if you don't want to use this program year round? No problem, they offer an option to pause your subscription at any time, and pick it up again when you're ready. The courses are self paced, allowing your student to work ahead or slow down as needed. over all, it offers flexibility.
Creating lesson plans is easy by following the prompts and clicking on the sections you need.
Everything is broken down for you.
This is a secular program, not faith based, so there is talk of the Big Bang Theory, Evolution, etc.. That will be good news for some of you, but not so good news for others. A typical lesson will take my teen anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the material. There is a lecture, questions, and a quiz. Each activity is marked off in sections, and recorded for your convenience.
What my daughter likes about Time4Learning:
- The introductory video clips and graphics are fun and whimsical, and not just for the elementary grades!
- Lessons are taught with the teacher on screen, but the option to read along with the transcript helps her stay attentive.
- She can work at her own pace, completing more lessons when she wants to work ahead, or take a relaxed pace on other days.
- She likes the overall format, and the flexibility the program provides.
What my daughter doesn't like:
- When taking a quiz, if a question is answered incorrectly, the correct answer is not given, so she doesn't know what the right response is.
- We are a faith based family, and the secular worldview is emphasized.
- The reading selections for English have been a little gruesome for my daughter's preferences.
Will we continue using this program? Yes, most of it. I think that we will continue with the English section, as the layout has been a good fit. We'll also use the history and social studies to supplement our current curriculum. My daughter has found these subjects that she's focused on to be in depth and rich. You can watch some demos on their site, and they offer a 14 day, money back guarantee if you decide it's not for you. Why not give them a try?
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