Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I was prepared to dislike T4L simply because I do not like my children to be tied into the computer. Additionally, I was afraid that the curriculum would be "too traditional" for my tastes with too much screen time and not enough creativity. I am happy to say that I was wrong. Additionally, T4L provides more than I anticipated for both parent and child.
My daughter absolutely LOVES using this program. She enjoys it, and she is learning. She has been able to retain what she learns and gain independence. One of my favorite features of the program is the Activity Scheduler - you can determine how many and which lessons will be covered each week of your academic year. Another great feature is the ability to change levels dependent on your child's individual needs - in other words, you are not tied into the same grade for every subject.
I was also happy to learn that the science and social studies activities involved hands-on experiments, "field work," and projects. It is not as crafty a program as Oak Meadow (few are), but there were plenty of opportunities to make and create things, record and experiment, etc. Furthermore, if your child is interested in something in particular it is very easy to add in other crafts/experiments, but there are not so many in the program that you feel overwhelmed. For example, my daughter created an embossed metal amulet after learning about the Inuit amulets.
Another area which works extremely well for my daughter is the interactive nature of the learning programs and the instructional videos. They capture her attention, and the immediate feedback on the lesson activity quizzes helps her better her understanding of the material presented. In math, for example, I can tell that she has improved her grasp of several different concepts in just the past month. Additionally, every lesson has a quiz or question-answer portion which assesses learning. I used to think that this type of exercise was unnecessary, but I have to say that I believe there is value as these activities show where we need to review or work further. I was surprised several times when my daughter didn't understand concepts that I would have sworn she did. I am glad that we were able to go back and review before moving on.
It did take a couple of weeks to get into the groove and determine how much to do in a day, but once we found that groove it's been relatively smooth sailing. I cannot speak for every grade level, and certainly any one program will not work for every child, but this program definitely works for my youngest daughter. In fact, I left the decision up to my daughter and she asked to keep using T4L. As such, I have extended our membership. I am so glad I had the opportunity to try the program!