A few weeks ago I met a woman who was using Time4Learning with her 12 year old son. The name of the program sounded familiar and I realized I had seen several email ads for this over the summer. Curious, as I always am about new learning programs, I checked it out. At first I wasn't interested in shelling out $19.95 a month for a "homeschool curriculum". After all, I'm an unschooler and we don't use "curriculum". However, in my pursuit of my new venture, the Guam Home School Resource Center, I felt it was in my best interest to thoroughly check out any educational option that crosses my path so that I could give a recommendation to those that come through my doors and ask questions.
So, Cassie, 6, became my guinea pig. I signed up for the 2 week free trial version (which unfortunately you pay for in advance and then can be refunded if you decide to quit after the two weeks are up). We are entering our second week of the trial. So far Cassie loves it. In fact she is very funny because she will come up to me and say "I'm bored" and then look at me with her big blue eyes without telling me what will solve this boredom. After several suggestions of things she could do to become "un-bored" I'll finally hit on what is her desire. To go on Time4Learning.
I'm not a typical homeschool parent. I have not gone into the system and set up a lesson plan for her to follow. I have allowed her complete freedom to choose what activities to do and what lessons to follow. When you first log in you are required to answer some basic questions about your child's learning in order for them to place them in the correct grade level. Since Cassie is 1st grade and not a reader she is doing some kindergarten level and some 1st grade level. She knows her letters and sounds and can read simple words but hasn't quite got the "click" that will bring reading together for her. The program does read to her, so our new headphones come in handy. It also highlights the words it is reading on the screen so that she can follow along. I know that will help her recognize words and increase her sight word list. Already after the first week I have seen evidence of an increase in her reading vocabulary.
Math she is right on level for. Our work with Math-U-See last year has really helped her and she understands math concepts easily. I've noticed that those are the lessons she follows in a systematic fashion, completing them to the end and moving to the next one. With the reading and science ones, she jumps around as her interest leads. She loves the science section the best and even though her reading isn't up to par her comprehension level is excellent. Language Arts extensions are great too, as stories are read to her and she has to answer questions based on the stories. She is scoring well in that section too.
I have a feeling that once this two weeks is up we will continue this until her interest wanes. It has been a great tool to use to keep her happy when mom is too busy to entertain an inquisitive 6 year old.