In the event ya’ll didn’t know, I homeschool our 5 children. While we have a long history of homeschooling this is my first year with all 5 children home at once, and all of them are of compulsory age to boot.
As any teacher or parent of multiple kids knows, each child has their unique strengths and way they like to do things. One advantage of homeschooling is that I can work with each child to find resources that work specifically for them. My fourth child, for example, is a mover. He’s 7 years old (he wants everyone to know that he will be 8 in less than a month!) and seat work is a struggle for him. Last year, when he was in school, I actually resorted to giving him a coin for each page of homework he completed.
Knowing that my son had such an issue with seat work last year I didn’t expect the problem to automatically clear up now that he is home. The thing is, I *still* have to teach him math, and the only way I know to do that is with heavy use of worksheets.
On one particularly tear-filled day I decided to look for an online math program that was either free or what I would consider affordable. As much as I searched and asked around, I kept coming back to Time4Learning. I tried Time4Learning many, many years ago when my oldest child was still in single digits (she’s 16 now) and I while I can’t remember why we didn’t continue with the program I recall thinking that it was “just ok”. This time around I didn’t go into the 30 day review period expecting much, I certainly didn’t expect that I would want to purchase the service.
Whatever my issue was then, I can tell you that it’s completely out-of-mind now. The program was fun and engaging for my son, he actually asked to get on the computer every day. Most days my son would stick to math but some days he would spend time exploring the other subjects, with science and art being his favorites. The playground area was a great motivator for him, he knew that if he did a lesson he’d be allowed to play games. I read online that some people feel the graphics are too elementary and simple but my son didn’t seem to mind that one bit.
My favorite part about Time4Learning is the parental controls. The parent sets the amount of time they want their child to spend learning and how long they are rewarded with play time. Knowing my son’s attention span is on the low side I set lesson time to 20 minutes and play time to 15 minutes.
The only problem we had with the account was in logging in, and both issues were due to me running pop-up blockers or using an old version of Windows. Thankfully they seem to have anticipated this and offered a work around for both situations in the form of one of those “If the page doesn’t load, click here” type of things.
Time4Learning isn’t an inexpensive program, in my opinion. I think the material is quality and worth the cost if you are using it for multiple subjects; it’s certainly less than the cost of a tutor or year of boxed curriculum. I’m not sure Time4Learning can provide the bulk of an education, especially as your child ages, but for the younger years it provides a good springboard for learning and reviewing concepts as well as introducing new ideas that the child can research on their own.
In the end I really like Time4Learning, as does my son. Though I initially wanted to use the program primarily for math my son had fun exploring additional subjects, so after payday I plan on buying a subscription. The cost is a bit more than I would normally pay for something I can use with only one student, however, the absence of fighting over school work is totally worth it. Aside from that, I’m tired of throwing money away on curriculum that doesn’t work for him. Ideally I’d like to use it for my youngest 3 children, and a discount is offered for multiple students, but unfortunately that is out of my budget.
*Disclosure: Time4Learning invited me to try their online curriculum for 30 days in exchange for an honest review. I reviewed only the 2nd grade curriculum. My opinion is entirely my own. Visit Time4Learning for information about lesson plans, homeschool portfolios or writing your own curriculum review.