In my previous post, I stated that I had agreed to write a review for this Home school, Tutoring, and Summer Learning program called Time4Learning. It has been 3 days since my kids have used the program and I have some good feedback so far. I have a full 30 days to keep up to date and write reviews.
The day I agreed to review the program, I enrolled my three children, my oldest son who is 9, soon to be 10 on June 20, is going into the fourth grade, and the twins, who are five and are going into kindergarten. My intention was to look for a program for this summer that would keep my 9 up to level on his reading. In the state of Indiana there is a new law that states that all third graders have to pass a reading test called IREAD in order to progress to the fourth grade. From my understanding the test is designed to make sure that the kids are at the appropriate level to "read to learn oppose to learning to read." My son failed the test by 3 points. From what the principle of my son's school told me, 28% of Indiana third graders fail, however, they were either students that are ESL students, or students that have an IEP, or students that barely missed it by a few points. Since my son failed the test by 3 points, they are allowing him to retake the test next week. With that being said, I wanted to get him into a program that challengs him in reading and math. I have a confidence that my son will pass this time around because he is also in summer school. My oldest likes school but he gets easily frustrated when he is challenged and he is not the best reader. I honestly can not afford a tutor for him so I have been looking around on Pinterest for homeschooling information for fourth graders and I came across Time4Learning site. With the twins going into kindergarten, I just wanted to make sure they are also on the appreciate level with knowing their letters, starting to pick up sight words, and their hand writing. Time4Learning allowed me to practice a demo before enrolling my kids. The demo was colorful and seemed to be something that would catch my kids attention. Time4Learning has a lower level, Pre-K-3rd grade, and an upper lever, 4th-8th, grade curriculum. I figured it would not hurt to try this product out. I signed the twins up for the lower level and my oldest for the upper level. Each of their accounts have their name and their own password that allows for me to keep track of what each of them are doing and how they are progressing.
Day 1, It took 3 days for the kids accounts to be active so they could log on to do some work. My oldest was the first to test drive the program. I must admit that I was instantly impressed with what I was watching him do in the first 10 minutes. I chose to start him on vocabulary. The Time4Learning program is designed to show arrows to show the kids where they should start so that the curriculum is more like build blocks of knowledge. My son worked on synonyms and antonyms, which I know he had done in third grade, I know the importance of repetition so I had no problem with the review. When my son started, there was this colorful vibrant character that asked him if he knew what a synonym was. He clicked on the answer yes, so she proceeded to ask his a question about synonyms. Well, he got the answer wrong. In a chipper voice she reassured that it would be OK because she would help him by meeting a few of her friends. The characters had conversations about different vocabulary words like fatal, niece, etc. When the characters talked about the words, they made sure to give the definition of the word and give an example of the word along with an example of a synonym. That made me feel like the program was really making sure my son was grasping the concept and meaning of the words. At the end of each lesson there was a short passage to read. BINGO! Because that's one thing my son needs to work on, reading passages and retaining what he read. It gave him time to read the passage. When he was done, he had an option to click that either he understood what he had just read for 5 extra bonus points or that he did not understand what he read and to get some help. I love that because that allows for my son to be honest without think the whole class is looking at him or allowing him to feel judged for not knowing what he read. There were at least 4 passages. I was able to watch my son to chose that he understood the passage and the option where he didn't understand the passage. When he chose the option that he understood the passage, along with getting the 5 bonus points, the program asked him a questions about the passage, that included the vocabulary word, if he answered correctly he received 10 points which made him so excited. When he chose the option where he didn't understand the passage, the program made sure to review the vocabulary word so that when he answered the questions he could get at least 5 points. I really liked that about Day 1 for my oldest.
Now for the twins, on Day 1, it was a review of the alphabet, matching capital letters with lower case letters, how many letters are in words and more, the program had very colorful vibrant characters and laughed and giggled making them feel like the were playing a game while they were learning. There was a section that was talking about books. It explained what and where the title, author, and illustrator where on a book. They got to see how to read from right to left. That portion of the program bored both of the twins. I made sure they each worked on the program separately because one of the always gives the answers to the other one, you know, the normal twins thing most twins do. LOL. I found that part of the program to be a little more advance for their age too, but I have to remember that kindergarten is not like kindergarten when I went so many years ago.
Overall, I asked each child separately on Day 1 what they thought about the program, they all said that they like it and they couldn't wait to do it again the next day.
Day 2, on this day I allowed my son to do some Math. He went over Standard and Expanded Form. I was thinking, "WOW I just learned this in my College 104 class." LOL. He told me he knew what to do. So I watched him. He did fairly well. When he got an answer wrong, the program did not show him what he did wrong, it just asked him to try again. This is where I had to step in because at the beginning, the program did not break down the two forms as well as it did in vocabulary. So I had to tell my son to start breaking down the numbers from the ones place because he was trying to expand the form from the largest number which confused him. I feel that there could be a little more strength in this area with making sure to give hints on how to get to expanded form. He still loved it because there was a little pie tracker at the bottom of the screen that showed him when he was close to getting finished. He was still so excited about his progress and the work he had done. I actually left him alone and came back upstairs and he was still working an hour later excited about going to the next stage. I told him to give his brain a rest and we will continue the next day. The hubby said I should just let him play, but I do not want him to get burnt out so soon.
Twins Day 2, They were suppose to do some math but it turned out to be a lesson on how to work the mouse. How to click and drag and items. I think it was trying to get them to match items and to put appropriate items where they go, but they became easily bored with it and put in a movie on the laptop, making me think they were doing work, but they were watching a movie. LOL, those sneaky babies!
So today, I allowed the twins to take a rest since they seemed bored yesterday and allowed my oldest to do some Science today. Guess what? It had reading passages and critical thinking questions. BINGO! I love that. I allowed my son to read out loud to me and to answer the questions with me. He drew a picture of a scientist and compared it to what other students think scientist look like. I was interested to see how his picture looked similar to the picture another student drew. Then he learned that scientist aren't all crazy looking. Since it was reading, he deiced to stop after 35 minutes of work and I agreed because he had read so well and answered the critical thinking questions so well and besides he is in summer school, so his brain does need a rest when it gets to a certain point.
So far, I like the Time4Learning program. Seems to be a good fit for my kiddos.