Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time4Learning.com - PREK program

Time4Learning – PreK program


This year, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we had the opportunity of reviewing the new PreK level of Time4Learning. I had mixed feelings about it and every time my son logged on, I was sitting next to him to see how he was doing. He loved the fun activities and enjoyed discovering it. He was particularly pleased with the fact that he was the only one product testing it.

But what is Time4Learning you might wonder… Well Time4Learning is an online program that will help the kids to learn and develop skills in language arts as well as mathematics. The PreK level was new this year and I had the opportunity of reviewing it with my son who is four years old.

There was two levels on PreK activities to do. Level 1 contained themes like school supplies, alphabet, colors, shapes, rhyme time, numbers, weather, on the farm, food, at the zoo, feelings, vehicles, tools, on the playground, sports, the human body, space, fruit, the human face, and garden. Level 2 had themes titled at the library, insects, color mixing, seasons, playing outside, more letters, healthy habits, yourself, more numbers, out to sea, more rhymes, staying fit, manners, pets, days of the week, time, making music, measuring, nature, money, and in your neighborhood. So as you can see, they covered the many themes a preschooler should go through to discover the world around him or her.

All the activities covers many aspects of learning in PreK like patterns, memory matches, telling which ones, ordering, paint it (coloring), find it, stories, memory games, clicking the mouse, pronunciation and much more…. They always ask if the child wants to start before beginning the game which I find redundant in the end. I mean if someone clicked on a specific activity why not starting it right away?

The playground contains even more fun games to get better at various things like coloring, letters, puzzles, educational games, and other fun things to do. It seems to me that this playground area brings you to other sites outside of the Time4Learning borders. Mind you these sites are educational but having paid a monthly amount to control the time spent on the internet with a 4 or 5 year old, I doubt this is necessary. However, every time you select an activity you get the word playground every once in a while which personally I find totally annoying.

The one thing that really bugged me is that at each theme of activities, the child would be asked to give their opinion on the games. I think this is totally absurd to ask a four year old if they liked the game or not. First of all, my own son sometimes didn’t answer properly to the questions as he didn’t completely understand the purpose of the survey. If you want to ask a survey, this should be done only on the parent level. A four year old wouldn’t understand why you are doing this.

Mind you there is a Parent administration section which allows you to manage your account settings as well as access a parent forum, get more lessons plans, and a getting started guide.

You might be wondering how much this website charge to access their education section. Well, before I reveal to you the current pricing, let me mention that it is a monthly price. Consequently, you will have to pay the same amount EVERY month of the year. Second, there is an ignition two week money back guarantee attached to your subscription which means that within the first two weeks of using the service, if you are not satisfied, they would reimburse your money. Pass there two weeks, you can cancel anytime but your better do it before the next month is charged on your credit card. The current pricing is $19.95 US per month for the first child in a family and $14.95 US for each additional child. So do the math and see if it is worth spending that much on an online system. I prefer taking the 239$ US and buy software or reproducible curriculum where I know will be more beneficial for my preschooler. Besides, these could be use later with his little sister.

Personally, in an age where children are spending too much time on television or on gaming programs (like this one), I prefer organizing some one on one time with my child and play with him/her. I prioritize the relationship with my child over having him/her spending so much time on a PC or the television.

This review was possible because I received a 30-day free trial of this product to review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.

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