Review of Time4Learning
If given the choice between a DVD or a board game, I am most likely to go for the board game. I always lean towards those toys that are educational in some way. So, I am a particular sucker for toys that claim to be both fun and educational at the same time.
With that in mind, I went to some trouble and expense to purchase and install a game on our computer a few months ago, something that promised to be as fun as it was educational. Norah loved the game and so did I, until I realized how limited it was. After she completed the thirty-odd worksheets the game offered within a few days, she was forced to do them again and then again, even though she'd already mastered them. This didn't bother her that much, since she considered it fun even with the repetition, but I felt like it was a waste of her time. The worksheets couldn't progress as she did and they had ceased to be any challenge for her.
The only solution I could foresee to this problem at that time was to purchase another game like the one I already had that was designed for the next level of ability. But, I knew this would mean the same expense and trouble for just another thirty-odd computer worksheets to challenge Norah for those few days until she, no doubt, started having to repeat the new exercises again and again.
So, when I was given the opportunity to try Time4Learning for one month, in exchange for an honest review on my blog, I was hopeful. I wanted to see if the program would allow Norah to progress at a steady rate and if it would offer enough material so that she would always be just a little more challenged each new time she "played the game."
I've been please with the program for that reason. Norah has begged to do her "school on the computer" and has been able to sit for up to an hour per session, averaging one session every other day for about a month now and she hasn't repeated a single activity once. I've looked ahead and it seems clear that there will be plenty material to allow her to progress at this kind of steady rate for weeks to come.
I also like the program because it has a few minutes of age-appropriate instruction before each activity, something that computer games at retail stores do not offer. And, the questions are read out loud, so students on the early levels, like my daughter, who are still learning to read do not have to be able to read everything themselves to do the work. The program works out so practically that I rarely ever have to help Norah with anything. The time she spends on the computer allows me to be so free that I can care for our new baby and do my housework while she is logged on. The program also automatically "grades" her work. So, I can log on at my convenience and check her progress. If she didn't do well on an activity and needs to repeat it, with a few simple clicks the next day, I can open that lesson with her and have her do it again and this time, with help from me, if necessary.
I feel the price for the service is reasonable, especially since I have only one child to pay for at this point. Like many families, we hold to a strict budget. But, to cover the cost, I found money within the bills we were already paying out to cover the expense. I canceled my data plan that allows me to surf the internet from my cell phone (approx. $20 a month). For us, the savings will cover the cost of the program ($19.95 a month). I only used my data plan once or twice a month anyway, to look up a phone number or address here and there while I was running errands and away from my home computer. But, I am confident that the twenty bucks will be much better spent on Time4Learning, so Norah can continue to enjoy it as a fun and educational compliment to her home school.