Review: Time4Learning Science Curriculum

     We are using Time4Learning as our core curriculum in our homsechool this year. So today I want to talk a little bit about our experience with this program, and in particular with the science curriculum.

     From the Time4Learning website: "Time4Learning’s curriculum is made up of thousands of learning activities, lessons, and assessments which provide a standards-based education program for preschool through high school. Children are presented with an ongoing sequence of lessons that provide a much more valuable educational experience than the isolated lessons that learning games provide."

     I love that with Time4Learning we get curriculum for all of our basic courses in one place. Many use T4L as their sole curriculum and it works fine for that. Others choose to supplement. We are one of the families that supplements. The great thing is that T4L makes it easy for me to do that.

     I like to spend my preparation time looking for and planning fun activities and not having to worry about creating the day to day lessons. I can do that with T4L. I simply look at the scope and sequence for each subject Meechi does on T4L and find fun stuff to enhance the learning that he is getting there. All the lessons and the teaching of those lessons is done with the online programming. That leaves me free to prepare the stuff I actually enjoy working on and promotes independence in my son. (another great perk of T4L)
     The best part is when I can combine two of the courses on T4L into one fun activity like I did with our purple dye experiment in which we combined the social studies lessons on the Phoenicians with the science lessons on the scientific method.

    Science is definitely one of Meechi's favorite subjects, and he not only enjoys the lessons on Time4Learning, but has also gained some wonderful knowledge on a range of scientific subjects. T4L provides a list of items needed for science experiments that are built into some of the lessons. Using the scope and sequence it is easy to look ahead and see in which lessons he will be doing an experiment and acquire the necessary items to perform that experiment.

     There are times when I might not have the items on hand for the suggested experiment and don't have time to go pick them up. With T4L that is fine. Students do not have to do the experiments in order to complete the lesson. Instead they will read about how the experiment should have gone and what the likely results would have been. This is great when your budget is a bit tight and you just cannot pick up everything needed for an experiment, although we have yet to see an experiment that would actually require much spending.

     Unlike with some of the other subjects, Time4Learning science does not include the comedic videos that accompany lessons. (Meechi is in 5th grade, and this may not be true of all grade levels) Some people may see that as a downside of the curriculum. For us it is perfect, since he is in 5th grade and is preparing for a transition to the middle school level. As his mother and teacher I view this as a pivotal year in which it is important to learn some more advanced skills. One of those skills is note-taking. The fact that the Time4Learning science lessons are more reading-based means Meechi has time to go at his pace with the lesson and take notes as he goes in his science notebook. He then has a chance to review his notes before taking the chapter test. This is an important skill that he will need to learn, refine, and perfect in order to do well as he enters the tougher years of middle school, high school, and college.

    I remember being one of those kids who breezed through elementary and middle school (well, it was called Jr. High back then) with little effort. When I got to high school reality hit me hard. I had no idea how to take notes or how to study. I had never needed those skills before. Suddenly, I was stuck having to teach myself good note-taking skills and study habits. This is not something I want to happen to my son. This is why I love the format of the Time4Learning 5th grade science. I have the opportunity to teach Meechi how to takes notes and study now, so that when the hard stuff comes along later, he will know how to tackle it.

     We are very pleased with Time4Learning so far. It has helped Meechi grow his love of science by teaching him how to experiment, observe, and record his findings as well as exposing him to new and interesting areas of science and scientific studies.

As a member of Time4Learning, I have been given the opportunity to review their program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. For more information, check out their standards-based curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review. (Actually, I was NOT compensated, as I could never get the link on their site to submit this review to actually work. I do however choose to leave this review on my blog as it may help someone who is looking into T4L and wants to read honest opinions of the program.)