05 October 2010

Review: Time4Learning

Okay, so here is my promised Time4Learning review.

Pros: I have to say that my daughter absolutely loved this program. It was a lot of fun for her with the games and activities. It has several areas for preschoolers such as colors, shapes, numbers but also other things like 'at the farm' where she got to do learning games based on farm items.

It also showed her HOW to use the computer, such as the mouse and keyboard, and it asked her if she wanted to proceed in ways she could understand such as using a green nodding smiley face for yes and a red frowning face for no.

Time4Learning did help my daughter with her numbers, shapes, and colors. It is remarkable how well she now knows her colors, and it helped to reinforce her number skills so she can count to 15 without skipping any numbers now. She especially enjoyed the paint program where she could actually mix secondary and tertiary colors. Time4Learning kept her attention for hours at a time and gave me the opportunity to work with my son on his schoolwork or to actually get some housework done.

Cons: My son wasn't too keen on the program. He only logged in once to try it. My son is older, 9, so maybe it's better for younger kids.

We had a lot of technical difficulties trying to get the program online and actually working. I had to jump through several hoops on my browser, but Time4Learning gave me step-by-step instructions online and I didn't have to call anyone to get the issue fixed so that made me very happy.

I also think that the program should have rewarded my daughter with a virtual blue ribbon only if she actually did a good job instead of when she also did poorly. It could have encouraged her to try again for the blue ribbon and made the blue ribbon a real badge of merit instead of something given no matter what. This is one of the reasons we've decided not to do Upward Basketball again this year with my son because they give prizes to everyone, no matter what, and I heartily disagree with that mentality.

As it stands, though, it's a small thing and could easily be overlooked provided you discuss the values of true merit with your children, or even set up a special rewards program just for them to use so they can understand your values.

My main problem with this company has stemmed from the fact that they seem to be a little dodgy in their wording. Since I was part of their review program and had a 30 day free trial, I received an email that said the following: As a thank you for posting your review, we want to offer you an additional free month if you decide to continue your membership.  After your review has been posted, simply log into your parent administration page and select “Convert Membership into an Automated Monthly Billing”. You will receive your second month with Time4Learning absolutely free.

So I went online and signed in to reactivate my membership and ran into an error. It said that my card was declined. I checked my bank and everything was fine. I assumed that they were going to authorize for a dollar and then drop the charge until next month when the full amount would go through. When I called, I was advised (just before she ran the card) that she was going to charge me the full price for this month. When I told her I was supposed to have my second month free, she told me that I had to pay for a month before I received one for free with the review program. When I looked back at the email, I saw that it could be taken to mean that, but it isn't what it actually said. If I hadn't run into an error online, my card would have been charged $35 when I wasn't expecting it because the page said $0.00 to be charged.

I've therefore decided that Time4Learning really isn't for our family, but maybe it will be for yours.  If there is information here that has not yet made itself known to me, I will surely post it here.

Mrs. Yoder