The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Time4Learning Review by Nancy WagnerTime4Learning
2840 NE 11th St, Suite 201
Pompano Beach, FL 33062
This is an on-line educational website for preschool ages through grade 5. It focuses on the subjects of Language Arts and Math, but also has some Science and Social Studies units as well.
I signed my son, finishing grade 4, up for the free 2-week trial period. On set up, I decided to set the timer for 30 minutes of lesson before he is allowed to go to the "playground" to just play games. The playground actually amounts to links to child safe places on the web including PBSkids.com and games from Clever Media. There are even two-player games available with both students using the same keyboard. I set the "playground" for 15 minutes and then he would have to quit or go back to another lesson. Also on set up, I was asked some questions about my son's abilities so as to place him in the appropriate level in each subject.
My son absolutely loved the site. He would work on a lesson and often ignore the timer, going beyond the 30 minutes until it would be finished before going to the playground. I was gone for a couple days after he had been on the site for a week or so and he went to some friends during the daytime, another homeschool family. The first day when he worked on the site, their daughter watched everything intently. She was so interested her mom signed her up for the two-week trial and then went to monthly subscription despite limited finances. She absolutely loves it as well.
After a week or so, I went onto the site and signed in as parent. I was able to view a list of the lessons he had worked on, whether completed or not. I was able to see what was completed, quizzes he had completed including score, and the amount of time he spent in each lesson. If I wasn't able to determine exactly what a lesson covered, a simple click and I would see the actual lesson. The content of the lessons is licensed from Compass Learning, reorganized and configured for homeschool users to increase the flexibility and control given to the parents.
Limitations? In my opinion, a lesson should be repeated if the child did not seem to learn the lesson. I asked John, the owner, about this and said he had that feature originally, but parents objected to this. Children are, however, able to redo exercises as many times as they like, though not quizzes and chapter tests. Another limitation, in my opinion, is that if a child is having trouble, it repeats the same verbal tutor each time instead of changing to go at it from another angle. I don't know if it would be feasible to repeat the tutor "X" number of times, and then change to y tutor assuming the student isn't going to get it with tutor "X" instructions.
I do recommend this site highly and after I extended my trial period and he did it for two months, I liked it even more.
-- Product Review by: Nancy Wagner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
2840 NE 11th St, Suite 201
Pompano Beach, FL 33062
I was excited to learn that Time4Learning had expanded their online curriculum to include all subjects and now through eighth grade. So I decided to take a new look at this site, thinking of my fifth grader who loves to learn online.
With permission from the owner, John Edelson, I signed in and took a peek at the middle-school level courses. The topics are greatly enlarged from the former math and language arts with just a sampling of science and social studies. Now the subjects include Brain Buzzers (art, music, and health), Thematic Projects, and algebra, for a total of seven full curriculum subjects.
I checked out science first and was pleasantly surprised at all the subject offerings. Since weather is something we were going to do as a unit this year anyway, I checked it out. It is under the fifth grade offerings, and there are actually ten different subunits, including Weather & Climate, The Water Cycle, Layers of the Atmosphere, Classification of Clouds, Instruments to Collect Data, Air Pressure & Humidity, Identify Pressure Systems, Develop Forecasts, The Earth's Climate Zone, and Meteorology. WOW. I decided to start at the beginning with Weather and Climate. There were two lessons under this subunit?Climate and Weather, and Climatology and Meteorology. Some resources were listed for books I can hopefully get from my library. Vocabulary words are underlined, so I clicked on them. Most of them give me a verbal definition and some gave me a written definition.
Then I hopped over to math. Under the sixth grade level, there were twelve different topics to choose from, including Fractions and Decimals, Percents and Ratios, Patterns, Algebra, Geometry, Coordinate Geometry, Transformational Geometry, Spatial Reasoning, Time, Measurement Systems, Data Analysis, Probability, and others. The math offerings for seventh grade cover twelve topics, including Proportions, Equations and Inequalities, Polygons, Perimeter and Area, Measurement, Data Representations, Probability, and Problem Solving. Even though some of these topics were in the fifth and sixth grade offerings, they have a different icon and are more advanced with each succeeding grade.
I just took a peek under Social Studies - it goes into political science, maps, state characteristics, economics, and history, ranging from Ancient Hebrew Civilization to African, Islam, early Indian, early China, and Rome. Then US, from Settling the Western US, Industrial Revolution, Immigration, 1877-1914, and US as a World Power. The coverage is very comprehensive. This is at the sixth grade level. At the seventh grade level, there are 23 different units that go into more depth in various US time periods.
One thing I did not like, however, was the confusion in signing in. There is a separate page for signing in for children in the fourth-eighth grades, and it was a bit confusing to me the first time. Also, the overview of the program indicated that it included only pre-K through third grade, as it previously had, and did not indicate the full curriculum offering now available. I would trust that the owner is in the process of updating all his website information.
All this for less than $20 a month? That makes $180 for a 9-month year and very cheap tuition. This would be perfect for someone wanting to supplement in a particular subject or complete homeschooling - especially if the parent works and is not available for daily teaching duties. Time4Learning has my vote.