Homeschooling online with Time4Learning.com

Time4Learning.com

Homeschooling online with Time4Learning.com

Our Journey Towards Homeschooling Online

Parents choose to homeschool for many different reasons. No matter the reason, the first step is exploring the various options. We won’t delve into all of the homeschool curricula available, but we will share with you our experience homeschooling online and the curriculum that works best for our family and that may work well for yours. Our decision to homeschool is based solely on economic reasons. We were never those parents who had dreamed to homeschool. Patrick, my husband, has a job that includes lots of travel. So much travel, that in our eyes homeschooling became a very real necessity. After our realization of needing to homeschool, we evaluated our needs as a family.

Our needs as a family are unique and have played a large role in choosing which homeschool curriculum works best for us. We live in an RV, so as you might imagine space is a commodity. We travel the country, so we need location independent based homeschool curricula so that we are not held down to having to be at one geographic location. We need a way to track learning and progress without the hassle of keeping our own records. When choosing a curriculum, it is important to identify the needs of your family before beginning your search. Before moving on, it is worth mentioning that each state has different requirements for homeschooling, and the Home School Legal Defense Association is a great starting point to discover which state laws you may be subject to as a homeschool family.

Since December 14, 2011 we have been using online homeschooling as the primary means to educate our children. Our children have never attended public schools, but have been exposed to several types of homeschool curricula. At the time of this writing Owen (aged 7) is working on a 3rd grade level and Grant (aged 5) is working on a 1st grade level. We use a program called Time4learning. As you continue to read, you will discover more about Time4learning, why it works for our family, some of our likes and dislikes about the program.

What is Time4learning?

Homeschooling Online with Time4Learning.com

Each lesson is one to three minutes in length and is followed with interactive exercises and quizzes.

Time4Learning is a web-based homeschool curriculum with no software to download, no CD’s to keep up with, no textbooks to get in the way, just log on and start working! With Time4Learning the kids log on and do their work online. There are printable resources and worksheets that can easily be printed out and kept in a folder until the kids are ready to use them. The portability of Time4Learning is one the most important selling points for our family.

Each lesson is one to three minutes in length and is followed with interactive exercises and quizzes. The children can work as quickly or slowly as needed. The web-based curriculum also allows children to repeat lessons if they need to refresh themselves or revisit a topic. The flexibility of Time4Learning is perfect for those who want their children to be able to work independently and at their own pace. With Time4Learning being student self paced we have the ability to work on our school work when we are able to work on it. The flip side of that coin is that if the kids want to do extra work and get ahead, nothing is stopping them or slowing them down. It works better for my husband and I to be facilitators instead of primary educators. We prefer the ability to watch our kids learn from Time4Learning and be available to answer questions or provide clarification. It takes some of the stress off of  us as parents and allows us to spend more time with the kids doing field trips, special projects, or art.

Time4Learning has digital detailed reporting that consists of attendance records, grades, and hours. Reports are easily printable for those whose state requires reporting.  Time4Learning keeps track of school records digitally in the easily accessed Student Portfolio. There you will find attendance, grades, and recent work completed. Time4Learning makes record keeping simple!

Each child has individual logins complete with their own grade levels and student records. The grade levels can be different for each subject therefore tailoring your child’s education to their own needs.Time4Learning offers children access to an online playground as an incentive to finish schoolwork. Parents can set an amount of time required for schoolwork before the system will allow the child to play!  The playground boasts hundreds of safe, fun and educational games for the children to play starring some of today’s most popular cartoon characters.

All of the work is sequenced so there is never a guess of what needs to be done next. Time4Learning offers Pre-k to 12th grade language arts, math, science and social studies. Electives are offered in the High School curriculum. We have experience with pre-kindergarten, first grade, second grade and third grade. For pre-kindergarten, first grade, and second grade all material was included online through Time4Learning. In third grade the format changes a bit to reflect a more mature child. Third grade begins to require some outside materials like books and simple items for science projects. All of the books required were easily found at the library or online for free.

Under the parent account you will find access to lesson plans, teaching tools and a parent forum.

Under the parent account you will find access to lesson plans, teaching tools and a parent forum. The parent forum is great for questions that may come up during your continued use of Time4Learning. The questions are answered fast and by experienced parents who have been using the curriculum for a long time.Time4Learning has not changed any of their curriculum to align or comply with common core standards. You can read more about that HERE if common core alignment is important to you.

Why we chose Time4learning.com over K12.com

We are often asked why we did not choose K-12. These are the reasons why:

  • K-12 is not offered tuition-free for grades Kindergarten-2nd grades in Texas. We would be required to pay out of pocket private school tuition for our pre-k and 1st grade child to use it.
  • K-12 requires annual testing. Traveling back to test on a specific date and time would be almost impossible for our family since we travel. There are times we spend a few days in travel mode and we would not have reliable internet to log on and turn in assignments that are due. When we were in Puerto Rico there were times we didn’t have internet at all.
  • K-12 requires annual testing. Traveling back to test on a specific date and time would be almost impossible for our family since we travel. There are times we spend a few days in travel mode and we would not have reliable internet to log on and turn in assignments that are due. When we were in Puerto Rico there were times we didn’t have internet at all.
  • K-12 lacked the ability to cater to grade levels and education needs of the individual child. It would not accommodate my first grader working in third grade.

Pro’s and Con’s of Time4Learning.com:

Pro’s:

  • Easy for all ages to use.
  • Colorful and entertaining for young children. All work is age and grade appropriate.
  • Our children can move at a pace that is appropriate for their individual educational needs.
  • Progress tracking that lets the child know where they are at in their unit of study.
  • Time4Learning staff has been easy to contact and our issues were resolved in a timely manner.
  • Portable homeschool curriculum without bulky books and manuals.
  • Rewards like the playground for finishing work.
  • Parent forum for interacting with other online homeschool parents.
  • Self-paced work allows for schedule flexibility!
  • 24/7 member access.
  • Safe and secure, ad-free learning environment.
  • Start, stop or pause your membership any time.
  • Automatic digital record keeping for portfolios or transcripts.

 Cons:

  • Time4Learning is not available offline. I would like the option to have time4learning available offline at times so that we may use it when we do not have internet readily available!
  • Inability for the parent to create daily, weekly, monthly assignments of lessons that create a task list for the children.
  • Occasional slow load times for lessons with educational movies.

Our Setup

Samsung Chromebook used for Homeschooling Online

Our son Owen using his Samsung Chromebook to complete his homeschool online with Time4learning.com

We purchased two Samsung Chromebooks for our children to do their homeschooling online. Chromebooks are different than typical laptops because they are only used for getting on the internet. They can still be used to do word processing, spreadsheets, and picture editing through several online avenues. Bottom line, we chose the Chromebooks for the price. They have been durable enough to withstand our children’s abuse as well as met every need that our child has encountered from performing the education online.We are mobile. One of the key components to successfully homeschooling online has been the availability of an internet connection. We don’t always have a choice in our location due to my husband’s employment, so we first try to locate RV parks with reliable WiFI connections. If the park doesn’t have one then we revert to using a mobile Wifi hotspot through our mobile phone carrier. Our last approach is to locate publicly available Wifi hotspots at libraries or restaurants. A printer is a must. We are currently using a Brother Printer that connects through WiFi to each of our laptops through the shared wireless connection.

If you are interested in signing up for Time4Learning.com please use our email (JennHodgkiss@Gmail.com) as a referer so we will receive credit for referring you.

*FTC guidelines require that we notify our readers that we may have been compensated for this review. As a member of Time4Learning, I have been asked to review their online education program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own.

Summary
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Homeschooling online
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Homeschooling online review of the curriculum our family uses. Find out what works for us and discover what kind of computers we use to keep our kids learning.

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One comment

  1. nadine says:

    We are also a traveling homeschool family who stay in our RV. Circumstances are similar to yours. I also use time4learning for my three children. I have two who are in high school and one six grader. I love using time4learning for our curriculum. Nice to see other “gypsies” out there.

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