Monday, December 15, 2008

Time4Learning, a TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Time4Learning is an internet-based interactive curriculum for pre-schoolers through eighth graders, covering reading/language arts, math, science and social studies.

As the parent of a child on the autism spectrum who understands how computer time can be an obstacle to the social and relationship experience my child needs, I was unsure about an internet based curriculum. Would it be something that my daughter would use to stim and perseverate? (I don't want that!) Would she be able to do the work or would the program be too "wordy" and frustrate her?

The sign-up process was simple, and I answered some questions that told Time4Learning at what levels to begin for my child. I saw information that let me know I could change her levels at any time.

Interestingly, we'd just begun using a developmental spelling program at home when we received complimentary access to the Time4Learning site in order to use it and review it. All of my concerns were eased when I saw that the activities were working on *exactly* the same concepts as the developmental spelling program we are using. I love the idea of reinforcing concepts that we've worked on throughout the day via Time4Learning!

One of my concerns was that my daughter would be overwhelmed and frustrated by the material on T4L. She needs longer to process events and activities than my other children, and if she feels frustrated she sometimes gives up. Jennifer Eaton from Time4Learning explained that T4L "provides a feature that allows students to navigate the grade level above for enrichment, as well as the level below for review, depending on the grade level. If at any point the work in a given level seems too challenging or not challenging enough, we can easily make adjustments to a more comfortable level for your child."

The web site is quite comprehensive. I like the "lesson plan" links on the Time4Learning web site. When my daughter was a public-schooled student, I familiarized myself with the grade level content standards set by my state's DOE, and being able to see for myself what each T4L lesson teaches is important to me. There are links to articles about using T4L with students with special learning needs:

Special Needs Learning
Autism and Education
Your Right-Brained Visual Learner
Dyslexia - My Homeschooling Story
Is your child gifted?

The site contains a blog and a parent forum, and the T4L staff created a place for Christian discussions when the suggestion was made by the TOS Homeschool Crew. There are free newsletters, and they provide internet and telephone support.

Time4Learning's web site gave me the definition for "accidental homeschooler", and I learned that I am one! ;)

A quick way to peek at everything on the web site is to look at the site map.

Time4Learning is priced at $19.95 a month for one child, and $14.95 a month for each additional child on a month-to-month payment basis, and discounts for subscribers who sign up for several months at one time. T4L offers a 14-day money-back guarantee. Children need to be able to operate a mouse.

I can vouch for the pre-school and early elementary sections--we LIKE them! After my daughter's first sesson with the science program, she could tell me the difference between plant and animal and why. If you're looking for an internet based interactive curriculum for your young student, consider Time4Learning! (If you want to read the experiences of families with older children, please check out the crew blog, where many more reviews are available to you.)

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