Time4Learning helped us have the confidence to homeschool

Our daughter, who is our oldest child, is a very bright girl. But she is also a very, very unique girl. Blessed with a quick wit, analytical skills that are honed to a sophistication beyond her years, and an out-going genuine friendliness, we assumed that she would flourish in the Catholic school where we enrolled her for kindergarten. We could not have been more wrong.

Before her seventh birthday she was reading at the fifth grade level, but could not remember the class routine. Social difficulties quickly mounted. She wasn’t fitting in, and had no friends. Nothing helped her to be integrated into the group. By fifth grade she was placed in the gifted classroom, but she was still isolated.

Our son has had equally difficult challenges. He is hyperactive. He often cannot concentrate well-enough to focus on schoolwork at night, and reading was as challenging for him as it had been natural for his sister. I have found an outstanding private school that really understands him, but they do not offer classes beyond third grade.

So last year I knew that we would soon homeschooling. I had exhausted public and private school options. Homeschooling would be a last ditch effort to bring some relief to my children, but the very idea of homeschooling terrified me.

I was terrified because I am not by nature well-organized. How would I plan lessons? How would I keep records? What if I never actually got around to lessons each day? What if my daughter went unchallenged, while my son fell more and more behind? I was worried that pulling them out of school would result in horrible neglect of their basic education.

Then one day toward the end of last Spring, I was searching for animated on-line reading materials for my son. I happened upon Time4Learning.com. We tried out some sample lessons. My son LOVED them. He begged me for a membership. I realized that all of the lessons were available on-line and sequentially organized, that the website also tracks the student’s study time, lessons completed, and scores. When I saw the price for membership, my excitement piqued to absolute euphoria. I used to spend more money on school lunches than I have on Time4Learning.com membership.

I wasn’t certain that this system would work for us, but since it was May, I decided to give homeschooling a “dress rehearsal.” I explained to my kids that we would “rehearse” homeschooling for the summer. I purchased two memberships. We did lessons every single day. My daughter really didn’t need to do lessons– she’s ahead of grade level in all subjects, but I wanted to see if the homeschooling routine was feasible for us. Would she actually do work every single day?

As for my son, I was just desperate to see some improvement in his reading. I was hoping he would actually sit still enough to practice reading every day, without arguments or stalling.

So throughout the summer, my children did lessons every day. They both wanted to be homeschooled, and I explained that unless they were faithful with this summer routine, I would not be able to homeschool them. They did their lessons every day without argument or hassle.

My daughter loved the lessons, and frequently laughed out loud as she did them. She found them to be witty and enjoyable. In the fall, when she returned to school, things became unbearable for her. She was so stressed out that she could not sleep. I pulled her out of school, full of confidence that I could home-school, because of our membership with Time4Learning.com.

The school year has progressed well for us. Time4Learning.com has kept me organized. All of the core academic subjects are covered. The site allows parents flexibility in the number of lessons they choose to complete, the order in which lessons are taught, and also allows lessons/units to be skipped. Parents can select a different grade level for each of their student’s subjects. The system keeps track of attendance, lessons completed, and scores. Additional resources are available to print out, and non-computer-based supplemental activities are suggested. A free homeschooling guidebook is available to download, and is very helpful. An on-line community with parent forums is very helpful.

My daughter, however, has had a few problems navigating the website, because she sometimes lacks the eye-hand cooridnation to accurately point and click the mouse. She is also a kinesthetic learner and concentrates better with a book in her hand that she can mark up. She needs to turn the pages with her fingers. Further, she reads at the high school level and is looking for more depth in the content. None of this is the fault of Time4Learning.com. My daughter simply has many unique characteristics.

One drawback for me was that Time4Learning.com does not provide a teacher’s manual. A Scope and Sequence lists what each student will learn during each lesson, but there is no detailed guide that spells out the key concepts that are covered in each lesson. In know exactly what the children are learning, the parent has to click through the lessons, which I found to be more time-consuming than skimming through printed texts.

We have decided to drop my daughter’s membership because of these special issues. I can say, however, that because of what I learned about homeschooling from Time4Learning.com, I have grown as a parent-teacher, and am now able to plan her lessons and do my own record keeping. I could not have come this far without Time4Learning. Time4Learning has enriched our lives beyond measure by providing a painless entry into homeschooling, and by showing both me and my daughter that homeschooling is feasible for us.

My son’s reaction to the summer with Time4Learning was even more significant: He begged for certain lessons over and over. By the time our “dress rehearsal” summer was over, he had jumped two grade levels in reading. Now, largely due to Time4Learning.com, my son is a reader. He is eight years old and is reading The Never Ending Story, by Michael Ende. This is an amazing feat for him.

My son is looking forward to using Time4Learning.com when he graduates from his private school in May. The unavailability of a written teacher’s manual is not as big an issue in my son’s case, because he will need me to sit at his side and help him through many of the lessons anyway. Further, he does not have the point-and-click coordination issues that his sister has. As he matures into a more independent learner we may end up moving to a textbook curriculum, but at least through his elementary years, I suspect Time4Learning will continue to be the best fit. It provides an easy to transition into homeschooling, a simple method to stay organized, online homeschool community support, and an extremely good financial value.

Time4Learning compensates members who write reviews about their service, but these opinions are entirely my own.