Help! So far, it's a tracking nightmare...
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  1. #1
    tawbur is offline Junior Member Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Help! So far, it's a tracking nightmare...

    First of all, this is lengthy, as it's hard to explain all my confusion with tracking my kids work in T4L. I welcome any advice, as I'd like it to work for us.
    We've only been using T4L a month, and my kids love it. But on the administrative side, it's a tracking nightmare imo. I had started to use SOS(Alpha-Omega Publishing Co) for language arts for my 4th & 5th grader, but it required a lot of correct typing to answer questions, and I heard about T4L, so decided to try it for all my 3 kids. But SOS has a far superior and easier method of tracking, assigning, controlling, etc. for the parent/teacher to utilize. I'm hoping that I've missed something somewhere and someone out there can enlighten me on how easy T4L really is to manage what my kids are doing.

    Here's some of my problems. Mainly, in T4L there are no consistent ways to track the lessons/quizes/tests/worksheets. From the student's screen, the quizzes and tests don't even get checked off, and my kids are skipping lots of them. When I look at what the student has done for the day or week or month, it gives me a headache. I can't follow the lesson plans that I printed from the website, because the wording doesn't match, and there's no numbering system in place that's trackable everywhere, atleast on the student's screen. I have to open up the student's screen and try to find similar-worded activities, which is very time-consuming to say the least.

    In the student's pages, it would be very helpful for the quizes and tests to get checked off when completed, as the other activities are, so the student and I can easily see if it's been done or not.
    It would also be very helpful if the lessons/stars/quizes/tests all had a number that appeared in the student pages, instead of various descriptions, which don't always match the the wording in the lesson plans or reports.

    I did print out the lesson plans, and the lessons are easy to track with the progress report. But the quizzes and tests and worksheets are not numbered in either place, so I have to study the wording to match them from the report to the lesson plans, and the student screens do not have any of the lesson numbers included. So, as Iím tracking everything between the lesson plans and progress reports, and decide that my child needs to re-do a lesson or quiz or test, I have no easy way of giving my child written instructions to follow, because my child doesnít see any numbers on her screens. I.E., I have to either write down the various and sometimes lengthy descriptions of each lesson(starred activity), quiz, test, or worksheet that my child needs to re-do, or just write down the lesson numbers for my child to enter in the finder, and then give lengthy instructions on how to find the right quiz, test, or worksheet that follows to re-do. And this means verifying with my childís screen to make sure that the descriptions on her screen are the same that Iím given in the lesson plans and reports, and they sometimes do not match up, which makes it hard for my child to follow my instructions and know what I want her to re-do. This is the tracking nightmare. Since there are no numbers for the quizzes and tests, if my child uses the finder to find a certain numbered lesson to re-do, she still wonít know where to find the right quiz or test to re-do even if it follows the lesson she just re-did through the finder.
    I think it would help if the Parent Screens had more control options added to it so I could decide how much freedom of movement I want my child to have. Iíd prefer that the system not let my child decide on her own to wander off the path, and especially that it not let her go on to any following lesson until all previous quizzes and tests have been completed. The reports do not help me at all with the quizzes and tests because I canít tell instantly which quiz or test goes with which lesson. And since it lets them move on to the following lessons without having first taken the quizzes and tests, I donít know just from the reports if my child skipped any quizzes or tests, unless I do extra research.

    I know I've been rambling, but it's been quite a chore to manage, and not easy to explain. Any suggestions from those that have it figured out?

  2. #2
    hearthstone_academy's Avatar
    hearthstone_academy is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Hi. I'm sorry you're feeling frustrated. There's a learning curve with any new curriculum, but I have found that it's even more difficult to RElearn something than to learn "from scratch". In other words, people who have never used an online program before usually jump right in and find Time4Learning very easy to use. Those who have used another online program tend to use that program as their point of reference and often have difficulty getting started with Time4Learning.

    Time4Learning has been easy for my family to use over the past four years. From the child's point of view, it's a simple matter of following where the arrow points and being sure to mark lessons as complete. I also tell my kids to do the associated quiz or test as soon as they finish a page of activity icons. That way, they don't forget.

    I also wish the arrow pointed to the tests or quizzes, but Time4Learning is limited in the ways they can change the program, since they didn't develop it. CompassLearning developed the program for school use, and Time4Learning holds a license allowing them to offer it to individuals. CompassLearning does listen to user input, and I've noticed the newer lessons have the quizzes and tests integrated, so there isn't an issue with the arrow missing them. (New lessons are core language arts from about third grade up, as well as most of fourth through sixth grade math.)

    From the parent's point of view, be sure you are looking at the child's reports instead of the recent work. When you open your child's portfolio, it defaults to Recent Work, which is just a quick way to check on all program access. Only completed work appears under the actual Reports.

    The best way to identify lesson activities is with the lesson activity number. It appears on the lesson plans and reports. It appears on the student screen, when a lesson activity is open, at the upper, left of the window.

    It helps to think of each subject as a book. The first page of icons the student encounters after clicking on that subject indicate chapters in the book. The test at the bottom of that page is a chapter test and is to be taken after all of those icons have been checked off. When the student clicks on a chapter icon, he is taken to a page of lessons within that chapter. The quiz at the bottom of that page is a lesson quiz and is to be completed after all of the lesson icons have been checked off. After the student clicks on a lesson icon, he is taken to a page of lesson ACTIVITIES. Clicking on one of those gets him into some actual work to do.

    I hope this has helped a bit. Please feel free to ask more questions as they occur.

    Mom of six . . . current students and homeschool graduates. Enjoying using Time4Learning since 2006!

  3. #3
    Leslie_Fiore is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010



    Welcome to the T4L community. While I haven't had the same experience with you in regards to tracking, it did take me quite a few months during our first year to fine tune our own tracking/printing/record keeping routine. While this may not be exactly the advice you were looking for, you might be able to draw some inspiration from it.

    With 3 kids using T4L, it's imperative that I keep on top of things and know what they have (or haven't) done that week, it's also important to know exactly what they'll be doing the following week. So, every Sunday night, I lock myself in my home office and do the following:

    - I start by logging into the youngest childs account and click on the backpack. It will automatically show me exactly what that child has accomplished during the current week. I print this off just as it is.

    - Next, I click on "Reports" enter in my date range for the week, choose the subject and click "all" for activity type. I do this for EVERY subject that child has worked on for the week. I print those out as well. (I like to do this because it shows grade averages for that subject for the week, so I have a good idea of how my child is progressing in each subject)

    - To finish up this part of my record keeping, I staple each individual report to any printed worksheets he/she had that week and file them away. Remember the "recent work" I printed out first? This gets stapled to each childs weekly planner (see below) and gets filed as well.

    OK, now that I have THAT done, I concentrate on planning out the upcoming week!
    I start by creating a blank weekly planner. ( I have a spreadsheet on Word that I use, but you could easily use a regular weekly calendar or an inexpensive teachers planner.)

    - Because I'm already logged into my childs account, it's pretty easy to go through each subject and see where he/she is and it's up to me to decide how much needs to be accomplished during the upcoming week. **As a rule I try and have the kids complete one entire lesson per subject per week. Sometimes it's more, and sometimes it's less.

    - If their subject shows that there is a test or a quiz that day, it's marked right there in their planner and they're required to SHOW me the grade as soon as it's completed, but it's not PRINTED until Sunday. (This way if they need to repeat a lesson or a test they've scored low on, their weekly printout will show both grades and their average).

    - Once I've filled in each child's planner, it's printed out and put in the front of their binder where they can easily find/see it. It's up to THEM to check it each morning and mark off their assignments as they go.

    One of the things I *LOVE* about T4L is it's ease-of-use, while you can't do everything from the parent login, it's so easy to access everything from the child's account. (Which does seem backward, but it'd doable)

    If you need ANY help, please, please ask! I was SO daunted during my first HSing year and while I'm still a relative "newbie", I'm more than willing to give any advice or help I can offer!


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