Review: Time4Learning

With access to the internet, homeschooling has never been easier.  Any parent looking to enrich their child’s educational experience can get access to a multitude of resources and programs online.  They can be used as part of a homeschooling program, an after school activity or as a holiday program.  It could even be used as an activity to keep an older child appropriately occupied while you tend to a younger child.  Many of these programs can provide anything from a few minutes to an hour’s worth of educational activities and more.

Tell Me About Time4Learning?

Time4Learning is one such program. Covering a broad range of subjects, Time4Learning is a great way to expose your child to science, math, art, reading, and social studies.  Materials are presented through a variety of multimedia activities – videos, online books, puzzles, activities, and games.  The program comes with lesson plans and a reporting system for parents to keep track of what their child has done.  The curriculum covers Pre-K to Grade 8 and you can advance your child if you feel the material is too easy.  There is also a parent’s community and forum where you can speak to other parents to get help on homeschooling and other education matters.

Membership costs $19.95 a month for the first child and $14.95 a month for each subsequent child.

What’s in Time4Learning?

We received a free trial for a month to test run the program and this is what we found…

I enrolled Gavin and he received access to Pre-K Level 1 and 2.  As you can see from the screen shots below, there are quite a number of subjects covered.

Pre-K Level 1:

Subjects: school supplies, alphabet, colours, shapes, rhymes, numbers, weather, on the farm, food, at the zoo, feelings, vehicles, tools, on the playground, sports, the human body, space fruit, the human face, and garden.

Pre-K Level 2:

Subjects: At the library, insects, colour mixing, seasons, playing outside, more letters, healthy habits, yourself, more numbers, out to sea, more rhymes, staying fit, manners, pets, days of the week, time, making music, measuring, nature, money, and in your neighbourhood.

Under each subject, there are a variety of activities you can do – watch a video, read a book, colour, do a puzzle, or play a game.

Once your child has completed all the activities within a subject, the picture is denoted with a red tick.  You will be able to review this in the parents’ reports section.

There is also a “playground” that your child can go to for “recess”.  The playground gives your child access to specific, approved children’s websites on the internet to play games.  The list is quite extensive as you can see from the screenshot below:

There is an option for you to set a limit your child’s “play” time.  Once that time has expired, your child has to go back to “class”.  Although, looking at some of the activities in the playground, I’d be pretty happy for Gavin to stay there for a while, too.

How was Our Experience with the Program?

I introduced Gavin to the program one afternoon after school and let him wander around on his own after showing him how it worked.  I peeked over his shoulder a few times but left him largely to his own resources for much of the time while I tended to his brother.  Most of the activities in Pre-K Level 1 were too easy for him, but I couldn’t convince him to go to Pre-K Level 2.  Since it was supposed to be an activity to occupy him while I bathed, fed and put his brother to sleep, I didn’t make too much of a deal out of it.  He was enjoying himself and the program was reinforcing the stuff he already knew.

Gavin was pretty enthusiastic about the program for the first few days.  After that, he seemed to get bored with it.  The problem was not that he ran out of things to do.  It was more like he ran out of things he wanted to do.  There were still plenty of activities he had not done but he just didn’t want to do them.  He would go back to the same activities over and over so naturally he tired of them fairly quickly.  In the early days, however, it was very effective for keeping Gavin busy while I did other things.

What’s the Verdict?

There were a few glitches with the program.  I’m not sure whether they were to do with us or whether it was a maintenance problem but some of the activities would not run properly – they simply failed to load.

I also found that the parenting reports didn’t have much information on how well your child did with the activities.  All it shows is what your child did, what date he tried them and whether the activity was completed or not.  There is no information on what he did right and what he needed more help with (unless there’s something I’m missing here). The help file seems to indicate that you could find out more information about your child’s progress but the images weren’t the same as the reports I got.  I’m not sure what happened there…

Aside from these minor issues, I thought it was a pretty good program.  I cannot comment about it as a homeschool program since I haven’t really had a chance to look at the program in depth or seen the higher levels.  From what little I have seen, I think it is promising to be used as a compliment to other homeschooling activities.  As with all things, its suitability depends on each individual child – what works for one child does not necessarily work for all children.  I would recommend giving it a trial as it is a fun and educational activity to occupy a child.  I know I would have had a ball with a program like this as a child.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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