Thinking of cancelling...
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  1. #1
    EmpressG is offline Junior Member Newbie
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Question Thinking of cancelling...

    I was going to cancel today. but decided to give it a little longer. Here is what I was going to put in the comments. Perhaps I am mistaken on some of the problems and a more experienced user can make suggestions. we have been trying it for a bit less than a month. The first few days were a complete waste as the site was being repaired.

    Several times we have tried to use the site it was not up and running. Several times it says our browser is incompatible, and then the next time it works fine with the same browser. Thus we were completely unable to work it into a school routine. It has seemed a bit difficult to navigate. It is hard to tell what is actually available to it a lesson that is read to you, an activity to participate in or some resource to reinforce a concept? It feels more like a grab bag when we click on a bubble. The titles do not seem to match with what you get as far as type of content.

    Frequently a little test to see what you know flashes up before the activity loads which is pointless and frustrating if the material is new. What it the point of asking a child to choose what a synonym is before the movie that introduces the concept. If they get them all right why even waste time viewing the lesson? The only thing my son learned was that the answer is usually "A". Might not be true every time but that is what he thinks for now.

    Lastly there is no way a poor reader can use the site without parental assistance. Text reading programs won't work with the activities and much of it is not read consistently enough to count on. We have tried Brainpop and by comparison it is much clearer, easier to use and not as kiddified. My son found this site demeaning by comparison and useless to do independently like he can with Brainpop.

    Is there some overall map of the content and activities I haven't seen?

  2. #2
    Stephanie739's Avatar
    Stephanie739 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    We have been using the program (3 children) for 2 years. Technical difficulties have been rare and usually work themselves out with little or no effort
    on our part.

    We use Natural Reader (text to voice program - free version) for longer text based lessons.

    I recommend you (the parent) explore the lessons, and units as well
    as sitting with your child during lesson time, in the beginning. You and your child will benefit if you also learn how the program operates.

    I hope you decide to give the program more time. It really is great.

    Good luck!

    mom to:
    Tori (13)
    Meghan (9)
    Andy (5)

  3. #3
    hearthstone_academy's Avatar
    hearthstone_academy is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Blog Entries


    It sounds like you started just in time to get in on TWO unscheduled downtimes in quick succession! Time4Learning staff was scurrying to put everything right. Stephanie is correct . . . that happens very, very seldom. I'm so sorry your introduction to Time4Learning got off on the wrong foot.

    It's important to read the Getting Started Guide and the Hints. Are you following the arrow? Instead of a grab bag, the lessons are arranged into chapters, lessons, and lesson activities, with the arrow always pointing to the "next" thing to do. If you log in as a parent, you can access the lesson plans for each subject and see exactly what there is to do. Some parents print the lesson plans and, when they check their child's portfolio at the end of the day or at the end of the week, they check the completed items from the portfolio off on the lesson plans. This isn't necessary, but does provide extra reassurance for some parents.

    The loading activities are intended to be games and are entirely optional. They are there simply so students with slow connections have something to do while their lesson is loading. They do give a hint of what the student will learn during the lesson. Nope . . . the answer isn't always "A". (I have a son who was always looking for patterns in answers, too.)

    Time4Learning recommends a free program called Natural Reader for helping students read the lessons.

    We love Brainpop! We use it to supplement our Time4Learning lessons on a regular basis. The developers of Brainpop will tell you that it isn't intended to be a complete core curriculum, though. It is an awesome reinforcement . . . much more interesting than the film strips my own teachers used to show us.

    I sense your reluctance to cancel. Maybe some of the above information will help you decide to give the program a little longer to work for your son. No curriculum will be a perfect fit for every student, but it's nice to have all the information you need before making your decision.

    Stephanie gave you some more good advice. It's great to just sit with your student while they do their lessons for the first few days, and then occasionally after that. Students should be encouraged to learn independently, especially as they get older, but most will need a tutor on occasion. Expecting any program to teach without any parental involvement is sort of like handing your child a textbook and saying, "Go . . . learn!" LOL! You probably know that, but some parents are hoping for a program that will function as if their students were in traditional school, where they can take a completely hands-off approach if they want.

    Let us know if you have any other questions. If you do decide to give it a little more time, I'd love to hear how it's going!

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

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