Considering switching to T4L - any feedback, advice is appreciated
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Thread: Considering switching to T4L - any feedback, advice is appreciated

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    sudie is offline Junior Member
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    Default Considering switching to T4L - any feedback, advice is appreciated

    Hi, everyone,

    This is my first year homeschooling and against many friends' advice, I went with Georgia Cyber Academy because it was free and sending all the needed curriculum. However, it has been quite overwhelming, frustrating, and overall, a negative experience.

    Can anyone tell me the differences of T4L - what sets it apart from other homeschool options? How much time is expected to be spent on the computer for the lessons (son is 4th grader) and how much is actually learning work versus busy work? Also, will he be required to take the state mandated tests?

    Any and all feedback is much appreciated. I don't think either one of us has cried as much as we have the last few months.

    Thanks,
    Sudie

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    hearthstone_academy is offline Administrator
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    Hi, Sudie. It sounds like Georgia Cyber Academy is an online public school, where the student's education is overseen by a teacher and you must adhere to certain requirements regarding time spent and what is studied.

    Time4Learning is not a school. Time4Learning is a homeschool curriculum. People often get confused about the difference, because they consider any school done at home to be "homeschooling". That is not the legal definition.

    In homeschooling, the parent is the teacher of record and makes all the decisions. Homeschool parents are subject to the homeschool laws in their own state. People are often surprised at how flexible true homeschooling can be. Many states simply require that you notify them of your intent to homeschool. Others want your student tested each year, or every few years. A very few want an outline of your curriculum (and Time4Learning provides that in easily printable form).

    The parent decides on the schedule. If you want your fourth grader to finish a grade level in a typical school year, you might plan on three or four hours online, but this varies considerably. Homeschooling is much more efficient that traditional school, because the student does not have to wait for the end of a specified class period to move on to the next subject and there is no time spent on roll call, assemblies, and other "crowd control". Some days, there might just be a ten minute quiz for some subjects.

    Some parents have their student do the chapter tests first and only do the associated lesson material if the student doesn't do well on the test. In that case, some students proceed very quickly. Since you decide what material to use, there is no busy work, because you can skip anything you feel isn't of benefit to your student, or that they already know. The online public schools include a lot of busywork, because they attempt to keep the student working for a full school day,

    Here's a page on Georgia's homeschool laws. I would encourage you to find several sources to compare, as the laws do change. Realize that, in states requiring a certain number of hours of instruction per day, you do not JUST count the hours spent online when using Time4Learning. Homeschool parents legitimately count arts and crafts, organized sports, 4H, Scouting, church activities, volunteer work,educational DVDs, educational games, instruction given by the parent in things such as cooking and auto mechanics, and so forth.

    With Time4Learning, students may proceed at their own rate. They may work at a different grade level for each subject. The parent may decide to skip lessons. They may also have the student do a lesson, quiz, or test as many times as necessary. I really appreciated that part for my own kids, because I saw no reason to go on the next lesson until they had learned the first one. In my mind, simply giving a student a poor grade and then assigning more work isn't teaching.

    I also let my kids take notes during science and social studies and use those notes on tests. Many, many Time4Learning parents do likewise. Note taking is a valuable skill, and there is no value in a student "learning" something just long enough to pass a test and then forgetting it later. If you wonder about that, try taking a few of the science and social studies tests yourself. Chances are, you will not remember much of the material, and you have probably done just fine. Another option is to allow your student to research the answer to the science and social studies questions. Knowing where to find information is a more valuable skill than rote memorization.

    I hope this has given you some hope. There is no reason to be crying every day. Learning really can be fun. I have enjoyed homeschooling my own kids so much, and I hope you and your son can find some of that joy, too.

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

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    sudie is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you, Kelly. I so appreciate your reply.

    I understand this is not a school, but the curriculum, correct? I will be responsible for keeping track of his attendance and stuff..I hope I am getting this all right!

    Yes, this has give me some hope. He did ALL the demos today and enjoyed them, said he had learned more during those during the two months of GCA.

    Thank you again,
    Sudie
    angeleyes1307 likes this.

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    Hi Sudie! I see this post is a few weeks old, so you may already have this information. But, I figured I would post anyway! If you are homeschooling in GA, you will need to file a Declaration of Intent on the DOE website. GCA is not considered a homeschool, it is an online public school. You will need to keep track of attendance at home (it is not currently submitted to the state) and test every three years with a test that you supply. Your son will not take the CRCT like he would have to with GCA. I would recommend looking at the GHEA - Georgia Home Education Association website to learn about homeschooling in GA.

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    lovehmschlg's Avatar
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    Hello, Sudie.

    You've got it right. Time4Learning is a curriculum tool to be used by the student while the homeschool parent remains the official teacher of record. Time4Learning's automated system tracks the amount of time students spend on online lessons. This feature can help us, as parents/teachers, estimate the value of the courses based on how much time students spend on their assignments. This reports section provides progress reports regardinglessons, activities, and assessment scores. It also tracks student usage bydate. Parents can log in and review the reports at any time. The tests andprogress reports are printable so parents can track progress and, if desired,include reports in portfolios. The printable reports can be sorted according tosubject, tests scores only, only certain dates, etc. This is really helpful for us in record-keeping. We just print the sections we need and put them in our students' portfolios. The state we live in does not require attendance records, but for those who do need that, this is really helpful.
    Janet
    enjoying homeschooling and learning with my kids, using T4L and T4W
    blogging our homeschool experiences at The Learning Hourglass


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    averrette is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    What are you thoughts on changing from Abeka (textbook, parent-led) for the past 3 years (6th grade now) to this? He does great with the Abeka and that is all he has known since coming out of PS in 4th grade.

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    hearthstone_academy is offline Administrator
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    If he's doing great with what he's using, I probably wouldn't switch.

    Switching from mostly A Beka to Time4Learning many years ago saved my sanity as a homeschool mom. My kids enjoyed the lessons so much more, and I did not have stacks (and stacks and STACKS) of workbooks to grade every night.

    A Beka is pretty challenging, and took us many hours each day. If your student is doing well with A Beka, they may need to work a grade level or so ahead in Time4Learning. They can work at a different grade level in each subject, if needed.

    A Beka does tend to assign a lot of "busywork". Time4Learning is more time efficient for the teacher and the student.

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

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