Today I am going to take a few moments to review for you the online curriculum known as Time 4 Learning. I have been using Time 4 Learning for 2 years in my homeschool and I thought it would be helpful if I put down the reasons I love it, as well as the areas in which I feel some improvements could be made.
First let me tell you why I sought out an online curriculum. Basically, at the time it came down to one word: newborn. I was pregnant with my third son and was expecting a mid-December birth and trying to imagine what teaching my 6th grader and a 3rd grader would be like with a newborn in my arms.
It sounded pretty daunting, so I thought to myself: “If there is a time for an online curriculum, it’s now.”
It didn’t disappoint. T4L provided exactly what I needed – an educational back bone for my children to lean back on (instead of me) for their schoolwork during the months where I would be sleep-deprived and nursing.
Two years later, I would say this is still the greatest advantage.
I no longer have to plan every single lesson prior to teaching. T4L offers a comprehensive scope and sequence for every academic year complete with books to read, print outs etc. I assist by staying on-hand to explain or further strengthen a lesson – but – they no longer need to ask me every day what they will be learning.
On a weekly basis I review the work I would like them to accomplish and I might go online to find videos, crafts, etc to enhance the subject. I try to individualize the lesson to my son’s interests (especially when it comes to Science and Social Studies).
Through T4L, they have a very organized, cumulative Language Arts foundation complete with grammar, poetry, reading, etc.
I also really love their guides they provide for all the books which the children are to go through during the school year which further apply writing and other elements of Language Arts to the book in which they are studying. For example, this year, my 7th grader read “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and my 4th grader is reading “The Toothpaste Millionaire.”
In addition, the kids can pick and choose from the subjects (Language Arts, Language Arts Express, Math, Social Studies and Science) as they please and the site is extremely easy for them to navigate.
Odyssey Writer is part of the T4L subscription which allows them to write within the lesson they are learning in and submit it to the teacher.
There are some areas which I believe need tweaking and improvement.
Math– while the subject matter and order of instructions are fine, I find that they teach the lessons too quickly and expect the student to easily grab the information. If though, the terminology is brand new, I find that they do not have enough time to understand the material. I tend to supplement with videos from online such as Youtube and Khan Academy.
No pause button– it would be nice if all the lessons were able to be paused. A frustrated child gets more frustrated when someone keeps talking and they do not understand.
A lot of printing out – The book guides and the math packets all need to be printed out in order for them to be utilized. And, I feel for complete instruction, they really need to be printed out. This is costly and time consuming. But, because it is a link in your account, it is optional – and therefore under your control.
I expect we will continue to use T4L at least through next year – my son’s 8th grade year.