No muss, no fuss, no workbooks!

It was one of those “you should try this” emails from a friend which I might have easily bleeped over. Thanks for the info, friend, no time to check it out now, maybe later…

A month into vacation time, and I was looking for some new math instruction to keep my kids learning through the Summer. We always do review math through the summer with fun card and dice games, but this year I needed to do some serious teaching. After surviving my first year homeschooling more than one child, I found the kids were all a little behind in math, so we’re using our summer “review” time to actually finish up the year’s lessons. As can be expected, my sons rebelled against text books. “Summer is NOT a time for worksheets!” the 7-year-old protested. Frankly, I agree. We needed new, we needed instructional, and we needed it now.

So I didn’t bleep over that email. I clicked on the link, found, rejoiced over the $5-for-your-first-month trial price, and signed up my 7 year old. Together we pored over the science lessons, took the quizzes, and earned our first trip to the “playground.” Okay — actually HE did it all, I just “tuned in” while washing dishes. It was super easy for him to navigate, the topics were all appealing to him, and the lessons were actually quite educational. The games he chose to play at the playground were just fun, no learning or skill practice involved, but that’s the whole point. He had to do the lesson work for 20 minutes (the time I chose for him via parent controls) to earn “recess time.” Next, he dove into the math curriculum, checking off lesson after lesson as he completed them in the prescribed order. My son loves checklists and order, so the easy way he’s allowed to navigate through the lessons in the proper order is actually very comforting — and motivating — for him. (As a side note, you do not HAVE to follow them in the given order, so when I realized he was struggling to read a chronological clock one day, I had him skip around and find the lessons on clocks. He could even choose from lessons one grade level above or below what I’ve “assigned” him.)

After we’d been working on Time4Learning for over an hour, my 10 year old son came in the room and reprimanded, “How long has he been on that computer?! That’s way too much screen time!” In a move which most assuredly WILL backfire on me one day, I invited my 10 year old to “play” too. They are now both completing mandatory (by me) math lessons every day, in their own accounts, at their own grade levels, followed by their choice of science lessons and then the earned time at the “playground.” No muss, no fuss, no workbooks! And they’ll both be caught up on their curriculum by the end of Summer. Wow, am I glad I didn’t bleep over that email!

My 13-year old daughter was also a little behind in her math. One chapter had really stumped her. Hm… $5 for a trial month? Let’s sign her up, too! She’s now reviewing the topics that gave her the most problems. Time4Learning explains the concepts well and gives clear-cut examples. Even in her “old age” she enjoys completing her lessons and earning time in the “playground” as well. Like the boys, she’ll be all caught up when those new math books arrive this Fall!

After our trial month, the price will go up a bit, but they offer discounts for multiple kids. The 7 year old really enjoys it and our 5 year old does, too. The bigger kids may get tired of it, we’ll see. Although our family won’t use it this way, the website could be your only curriculum source for some, or even all, of the core subjects. (We haven’t even peeked at any of the Language Arts stuff yet!) For our family, Time4Learning has been a great supplement during our Summer vacation. When the “school year” starts up, time spent at Time4Learning will fit nicely into our schedule for all those “What can I do while you’re teaching her?” moments.

Bottom line for now: has been the best discovery of the Summer, aside from the yellow-bellied marmot in Rocky Mountain National Park.