Friday, November 6, 2009

That’s Just How WE Do It

So, I’ve been reading some different posts on the Time4Learning™ forum lately, and it has really made me smile to realize how MANY different ways people use Time4Learning in their homeschool. 

I thought it might be kind of fun to share a little bit about how WE use the program, and then hopefully get some great comments from you guys on how YOU do it, and then compare and contrast!!

This is our third year with the Time4Learning homeschool curriculum.  We discovered this little gem two summers ago, when I had pretty much given up in despair that I would never find a homeschool program well suited to my visual, right-brained son.  What an incredible relief it was to discover an interactive, multimedia online program that seemed designed with my son in mind. 

So in this, his third year with the curriculum, we have tweaked, and prodded, and poked, and cajoled the Time4Learning system into something pretty workable for us and our goals.  Up until last year, we had only used T4L for math, and language arts.  But when I previewed the 7th grade US History course, I knew immediately we were definitely going to be using the social studies as well.  I have been incredibly impressed with how comprehensive the lesson plans are, and we have spread them out over two years now by supplementing them with unit studies and books that complement my son’s favorite lessons.

Some T4L’ers tend to do certain subjects on certain days of the week, and then switch off, but that has never been our method.  We have been a little more “traditional” and have spread the math and language arts lessons out over the course of the school year, and done a little math and a little language arts each day. 

If I were to generalize, I would say that my son does about one complete math lesson and quiz per day.  But we also have “test days”, and even “review days,” to even out the timing of the instruction.  We don’t usually have to supplement the math program much, but if our son is really struggling with a particular concept, we will sometimes have him watch a video about the lesson on Discovery Streaming, or will play a math game that helps reinforce the concept.  I print out his quizzes weekly, and we use problems that he missed as subjects for review.  Then we also review the quizzes again before taking a test.  This is sort of a “schoolish” approach to math, but the consistency and predictability of our math schedule really fits our sons learning style.

Language Arts with Time4Learning is a little bit trickier, simply because the categories of study are a little more spread out, and not as sequential as the math lessons.  We have tried getting through the LA lessons in all sorts of creative ways.  This past year, we usually went back and forth between regular language arts lessons and language arts extensions, depending on the day of the week.  Lego Ergo Sum are my son’s absolute faves, so he would have worked his way straight through those first if I had let him, but instead, we spread those out over the school year.  Sixth grade had five integrated literature units in it, also, so we took one week out of every six and focused on those.  I used the teacher’s guides for the literature units for the first time in 7th grade, and was really impressed with all the creative additional activities that were suggested.  We printed out all of my son’s creative writing from the Compass Writer activities, and turned them into sort of a “book” that he was able to show off to the grandparents at the end of last year.  I love that T4L has such a good mix of reading, comprehension, grammar, and writing instruction.  It is a really well balanced language arts curriculum, in my opinion.

Anyway, those are just things we have worked out to create the best approach for our son, but I know you probably have completely different approaches.  I’d love to hear about them, so sound off!!

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