Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time 4 Learning Pre-K

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Last year, we reviewed Time 4 Learning with our older children, but they've added a new Preschool level that we were recently able to review with our younger children.  I created Time 4 Learning Pre-K accounts for my 4 year old daughter and my 6 year old son.   They both enjoyed the website, but my 6 year old son was able to maneuver it more on his own, and seemed to enjoy it most.

The Pre-K level of Time 4 Learning is arranged by topic, rather than school subjects.  Children can explore topics like insects, days of the week, pets, manners, and the library.  Within those subjects, they can view videos, play games, listen to stories, and solve puzzles.  The website is engaging, and the graphics are cute and colorful. 

Time 4 Learning's Pre-K  level has several benefits that could make it the perfect solution for your family:

  • It could be used as a preschool or kindergarten core curriculum.

  • It could be used to supplement your other curriculum and activities.  

  • A membership could provide educational activities to occupy  younger students, allowing a busy homeschool Mom to focus on difficult subjects with their older students.  

  • It has helpful reports that a parent could print for their student's yearly portfolio in more regulated homeschool states.

  • It is a month-by-month membership, so it could be purchased for a difficult month or two, and then stopped when life returns more to normal.

  • It is a colorful and engaging website, and children love it!

Though both my children enjoyed their trial membership, this isn't the best fit for our family, for the following reasons:  

  • We have 7 children using one "kids' computer", including older students who have greater need of the internet for research purposes.  

  • We have distractible kids who not only want their own turn on a website, they also end up watching others take their turns rather than accomplishing their other work.

  • We have a satellite internet service with usage thresholds, so we have to monitor and limit internet use.  (recently learned the hard way)

  • Even if we only bought one membership, that is almost $240/ year out of our small educational budget that could buy other curriculum needs. 

  • At least 4 of our children would want a membership if we bought it for one student. That total would exceed our average yearly homeschool curriculum budget.

Our review period of this particular product was limited, because for the first time since moving here and acquiring satellite internet, we actually did exceed our usage threshold.  Our internet access was scaled back to dial-up speeds (in my opinion it's below dial-up speeds) and only to certain low-traffic hours of the day.   We have to drop back down to a certain percentage of that threshold (averaged over 30 days) before we are restored to high-speed internet.  So, for nearly 2 weeks now, we have been unable to visit most websites, and we've tried not to visit them so our percentage will fall faster.   Which means, recently Time4Learning hasn't been happening here.

During the time that we were able to access Time 4 Learning, my 6 year old spent more time on it than my 4 year old.  While my 6 year old son was able to maneuver the website once he received a little training from an older sister, my 4 year old daughter was not able to do so.  She required someone to sit with her and walk her through it.   In our busy home, we found that difficult to do, so she didn't get to explore it very much.  They both enjoyed it, and would love to continue their memberships.  But they're stuck with a frugal Mom who prefers they learn through actual play, life activities, and books ... so they aren't going to get it.

Currently in April 2010, Time 4 Learning memberships are sold for $19.95/month for the first student and $14.95/month for each additional student.  (Prices may vary over time, so check the Time4Learning website for current pricing if you're reading this at a later date.)  

This item was provided free (as a 30 day trial membership) for our review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  We received no other compensation, and this review is our honest opinion.  Click the TOS Homeschool Crew banner at the top to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

Trusting In Him,

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