Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time4Learning Pre-K

 

Time4Learning is an online educational curriculum that utilizes interactive "cartoons" to teach across multiple subjects. Last year I reviewed the Elementary and Middle School programs with the TOS Crew, and this year we were given 30 days' free access to the Preschool program for the purposes of review.

While I had mixed opinions for the older kids'  section last year, I am quite pleased with the preschool program.  Now, keep in mind that I have a 2 year old, not "quite" the target age, but he enjoyed using the program with "Mom"  or his big sister helping out (with mouse~work, mostly).
The Time4Learning Preschool Curriculum is split into 2 levels
Level 1 has 20 "units" with 83 total activities, and
Level 2 has 21 "units"with 92 total activities.

Want to check out the scope and sequence? This is a very comprehensive look at what the PreK curriculum encompasses. I'll give you a quick synopsis here of the basic set-up. Each "unit" starts with a "Story" or "Show", which frequently ends with a little interactive activity. There are 3 or more activities that follow, relating to the concept being introduced.

We enjoyed spending time at Time4Learning, with the "Story" or "Show" being a big hit, and the "Match it",  "Which one is it", and "Memory Match" activities being high on JDP2's list.
There are also "Parent Reports" that you can access right from your child's page, to see where your child is spending their time (If you aren't actively spending your time with them, like we were)...

Here is a random screenshot of a portion of my report area: (These were all in the "Alphabet" Unit)
  Icon~ Name of activity, with description~ x's started ~ last date ~x's completed
Time4Learning Preschool1

Speaking of parental "Control", you have the ability to change the amount of time spent on the activities or lessons, as well the amount of time spent on the "Playground"(More about the Playground in a minute...)

The Lessons can be set for a "Minimum" time of 0-59 minutes, and the Playground can be set for a "Maximum" time of 0-59 minutes as well. We were a little surprised the first time that we started playing, and couldn't check out the Playground. The second time we had apparently completed our minimum amount of lesson time, and were able to access the Playground, but we were again surprised when our playground time abruptly ended mid-game.
Two suggestions here:
  • It would seem to be a good idea to have a "Maximum" time allowed for the Lessons as well as the Playground
  • It might be nice if the playground timer would remove access to the playground, but allow the current game or activity to be completed. 
I promised a little more information about the Playground. It is composed of MANY "places" to play. Lots of them are sites that you can visit online yourself, like PBSKids.org, and others may be unique to Time4Learning. I certainly didn't have time to check them all out! I am also guessing from the variety, that the playground is not strictly for the Preschoolers, because there were a number of "Games" that would be more appropriate for older children. Can't quite see a 4 or 5 year old playing PacMan, which is a choice... as well as Air Hockey and some other "Arcade-style" games in addition to educational games, two-player games, "Puzzlers", and "Activities.
  • One more suggestion would be to limit the playground games/activities to the appropriate age, more to avoid frustration when a PreK child's time runs out while trying to navigate the wealth of activities in the playground.
Some Personal Thoughts:
  • PreK curriculum is well set up and organized (Scope and Sequence is great!)
  • Nice little video introductions for the kids to topics~ Very appropriate to the age.
  • Simple "Games/Activities" to reinforce the topics, and a limited number of games, so that it isn't too complex for a Preschooler~ Right on target there.
  • The ability to keep track of what your little one is watching and doing with the "Reports"
  • The Parents forum has become much more active since last year, and there are a lot of good ideas to check out. :) 
  • The Playground? ~ I'm not making too much of a judgement call~ It IS handy to have all those activities from various sites in one spot, and to have the ability to "limit" the amount of time there, since this isn't the "main" part of the curriculum, but it does seem a little funny to be paying (through the subscription) for many things that can be accessed for free online. You be the judge there, for your own family.

Of course, we all know that preschoolers learn best by taking part in that thing we call "LIFE", getting messy and dirty, being active, reading lots of books and generally interacting with family and friends,  etc.... so, keeping that in mind,  if you are looking for an online, fairly well rounded, age appropriate "curriculum" for your preschooler to spend a few minutes per day with, OR if your "Little" has been begging to "Do math"(etc...)  on the computer like the "Bigs",  this could be a good choice for you.

Assuming that I've caught your interest, you may wish to check out the lesson demos to see the program in action. The link brings you to a 60 second "Tour", and then you can click on "Try the Lessons" or "Try the Playground" to get a feel for what Time4Learning offers.

Time4Learning's current pricing is $19.95/month for the first child in a family, $14.95 for each additional child.

As always, I hope that this review will help you make the best use of your homeschooling budget. For other reviews and viewpoints, please visit the TOS Crew Page and see what my Crewmates there had to say about Time4Learning. :)

Blessings~


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

1 comment:

  1. Great review. This makes me wish I had a preschooler again.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for letting me know you were here. I appreciate "thoughtful" comments. :)

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