Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Time4Learning Review

home education

I am giving Time4Learning(time4learning.com a very high 5-star score!  It's sensational and my son LOVES it!  Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening.

I was looking on the web for extra worksheets and lessons my 6 year old son could do to supplement what he was learning in Kindergarten when I came across Time 4 Learning.  It is an online Homeschool curriculum for full-time use, after school use or summer use for children in grades Preschool through Middle School.

I contacted them and asked if I could try the product out in exchange for a review.  They graciously agreed to a one month trial.  My 6 year old loves school and learning.  He can't seem to get enough when it comes to education.  I decided instead of just seeing what type of worksheets I could get, I'd actually have him use the whole curriculum as an after school program and see what he thought.  The benefits they list on their site include:

Benefits:  Online Curriculum for PreK to 8th Grades, Access to 3 Grade Levels of Lessons, 1,000+ Student-Paced Multimedia Activities, Language Arts/Math/Science & Social Studies, Interactive/Project-Based Activities,
Detailed Reporting for Easy Record-Keeping, Lesson Plans & Teaching Tools for Parents and Lessons Correlated to State Standards.

He absolutely loves it!  I can't get him to stop working on it.  I have actually had to set up a schedule to cut BACK on the hours he spends on the site as he was overdoing it a bit!  While he's finishing up Kindergarten at the moment in the mornings, he is at a first grade level so that's what I started him at with the program.  Three days a week, he comes home from school, eats lunch and begs me to get on the computer and start Homeschooling!

Basically, the way it works is this:  your child completes online lessons (made up of a variety of multimedia activities), has worksheets to print and complete as follow up to what they learned (just like the ones they gets in class), takes online quizzes and tests and then earns playground time-which my son also loves!  The lessons are inline with the expectations from our school district and my son is flying through the first grade online right now!  The lessons are very engaging and fun for the kids to watch and learn.  You can choose from LA Extensions, Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies and there is even a level 1 and a level 2 for first grade.  Each subject has different characters and activities to make things versatile and fun.

You pay just $19.95 a month for full access, there aren't any contracts and you can cancel at any time!  It's such a low price for such a wonderful product, you will be hooked right from the start!

The lessons build off of each other, so I highly recommend you start with the first one and then follow the arrows instead of letting your child choose just any lesson.  I learned that the hard way.

It's incredibly child friendly....we did a couple of lessons together until he got the feel for how the site works and is set up and now he does it mostly on his own.  I do review things with him and check on his progress.   I LOVE that he can redo any of the lessons, quizzes and tests at any time so he can truly MASTER the lesson rather than just "skating by".  Even if he has completed a section, I have him redo lessons etc. until he reaches the "Mastered" status and then he gets extra playground time.

There is a parent tutorial which shows you exactly how to use the program.  You can check your childs progress, print reports, report cards, see attendance and everything. You have total control and access to everything.  You set the time limits for lessons as well as playground time which is a very positive reward.

I have used many online learning sites to supplement the education he is receiving in school and this one is by FAR the most comprehensive and truly lives up to all the benefits they boast!  I have recommended it to several of my friends (3 of which have signed up and are using it) and also given information to my sons Kindergarten teacher who is recommending it to parents whose children are struggling in school.  I love this program and will continue to rave about it!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Program

Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Program Kindergarten Level 1 & 2

I am giving this product a HUGE five star rating. Aside from the fact that it helped me teach my son to read before he even started Kindergarten, it is easy to use, the customer service is phenomenal and it doesn't teach you to sight read like other programs out there. It teaches your child the phonetic patterns to words and how to "sound out" words instead of sight reading which can cause troubles later in learning.

I had tried to start my son on this when he had just turned 4. I had some trouble getting him to focus and sit still. I spoke with a company representative and he sent me a very long and detailed email with advice on how to proceed, what my sons realistic limitations and expectations should be and lots of encouragement.

This morning when I dropped my son off for school ( he just started Kindergarten in September) one of the moms pulled me aside. She said her son came home from school yesterday amazed that my son had read a whole book in front of the class all on his own! He said the teacher just turned the pages and my son read. Her son has never shown an interest in reading himself. Last night, he was so excited to learn, he pulled out books and insisted they sit down and do some reading. She said he couldn't stop talking about what my son did. It was an incredibly proud moment for me. Not only did my son read an entire book on his own, but he INSPIRED his classmates and excited them about reading.

I owe this completely to the Hooked on Phonics program and the representatives from the company. We never even finished Level 1 and he was already sounding out words and reading partial sentences. The program is fun and interactive and really holds their attention. It has a reward system your child will love and which will keep them coming back for more. My 2 year old LOVES to watch the videos and I am expecting him to use the program as well. He's already showing an interest just from watching his older brother.

My best advice before purchasing is to contact the company, describe your child and have them advise you on which is the best program for them. I can NOT recommend this product enough.

Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Kindergarten covers short vowels, simple plurals, and simple compound words. Learn to Read Kindergarten includes:

-12 original storybooks that feature an exciting range of beautifully illustrated stories
-2 storybooks by award-winning children’s book authors and illustrators David Ezra Stein and Rosemary Wells
-2 workbooks that will guide you and your child through all of the lessons and many fun activities
-2 DVDs filled with music videos and fun introductions to each lesson, where letters come to life
-Quick Start Guide
-2 sets of stickers to proudly display in the workbooks and celebrate reading success!

Click on the image for purchase option.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sleepy Wrap

The Sleepy Wrap carrier is an innovative way to hold your baby when he is sleeping, when you are out and about or trying to get things done at home. You've all seen the front carriers or backpacks which make carrying your child easier, but the Sleepy Wrap is a different type of product. The purpose is the same, but the "ride" is much softer and pliable for your child. The fabric is a french terry cloth and is very comfortable for you and baby.

We have a front carrier by Baby Bjorn which we use quite a bit. Sleepy Wrap sent me one of their carriers to try out and I definitely liked it. It's soft and conforms to your figure as well as baby's. My son was comfortable in it and just hung out while I did some work around the house. It's very basic, just a long piece of stretchy and soft material which you wrap up in a special way. While I do like this product, I have to admit, I prefer our other front carrier.

The Sleepy Wrap came with instructions which were not in English which was difficult. I had to figure out how to wrap the carrier on my body by using some pictures-this was a definite downside. I found out later that this was an error and the company assured me it had been remedied for future orders. Once I finally figured it out and got my son in it, it was a nice carrier and the price (at only $39.95) was definitely more affordable than other carriers. However, our other carrier is much faster to put on and then I'm on my way. I am giving this item a FOUR star because the instructions were impossible (although remember it wasn't what is usually sent) and it takes time to get this carrier on. Once you become used to it, however, I'm sure it's faster. It's definitely a great product and one which you will use often if you have one!

Click on the image for a link to purchase. If you use coupon code: "opinion" before April 20, 2010, you will receive 10% off any Sleepy Wrap order.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing - My Little Lamb

The Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing is phenomenal! I am giving this a HIGH five-star rating! We used to have the older version of this swing, the Nature's Touch Papasan and loved it. We purchased that one five years ago and the motor just went on it and we needed a new swing for our five month old.

We tried another swing from Fisher-Price, see review of Ocean Wonders Swing, but were very disappointed. The My Little Lamb swing is a wonder for any baby. It surrounds them in plush softness and has so much width and space for them to get comfy! This is what a REAL papasan swing is meant to be! It has plenty of music options, a rotating mobile with a mirror, and the ability to swing either side to side or front to back.

Literally, the only drawback to this swing is that is doesn't have an A/C adaptor option. Invest in a lot of batteries, buy them in bulk if you have to, but don't miss out on this sensational swing which your baby will hardly ever want to leave! I want to get in it and snuggle up myself! Do they make these in adult sizes????

Click on image for purchase option.

Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Cradle Swing

When our Fisher Price Nature's Touch Papasan swing's motor recently burnt out, we were faced with the immediate need to purchase a new swing for our five month old. Keep in mind, we bought this swing for our, now, four year old when he was a baby and it's lasted this long.

However, we needed a new swing and FAST. So, we read some reviews and decided to purchase the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Cradle Swing. In all honesty, the only reason we chose this particular swing was that it came with an A/C adaptor and we liked the idea of not plowing through batteries any more.

We made a HUGE mistake. I am giving this swing a two star rating. The swing seems very cheaply made first off. I was very surprised as I am normally a huge supporter of Fisher-Price products. When I went to put my son in the swing, it is extremely narrow. So much so, that his arms hung over the sides. On top of that, there is a bar which MUST be between their legs which isn't at all comfortable. When I turned it on, I had to use the highest setting for my 14 lb. baby and it barely swayed. The weight limit is for babies over 25 lbs., so this didn't make any sense to me. Needless to say, we took this swing right back and purchased the Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing - My Little Lamb, which we should have purchased to begin with. Back to batteries, but well worth the switch back. Please see our review of this product.

Click on image for link to purchase option.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Responsibility Chart

This My Responsibility Chart earns a 4.5 star rating from us. Our son was thriving on having chores to do around the house, and we decided it was time he got an allowance. So, we bought this chart to keep track of his chores.

The chart comes with cards with typical chores for children, making the bed, picking up toys, brushing my teeth etc. It also comes with rewards cards, allowance, extra dessert, family outing, going to playground etc. You set the child's goal, say 20 stars per week. For every chore they complete each day, they get a star. At the end of the week, if they have reached their goal, they get whatever you've put in as the reward.

We hung it up where my son can put his gold stars on each day and he can't wait for "his stars". Then on Saturday night, if he's reached his goal, he gets his allowance of whatever goal we have set for him. It is amazing to see how much this is teaching him about responsibility. If he doesn't earn his stars each day, he's really bummed out. I now have someone who takes the clean dishes out of the dishwasher for me every morning-and he can't wait to do it!

Click on image for purchase option.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Original Slumber Bear with Silkie Blanket

Want your new baby to sleep through the night? This item is magical! I give this one a FIVE Star rating and buy one for every friend who is pregnant.

"Invented by a doctor, and effectively used in hospital nurseries for over 28 years! The Original Slumber Bear contains the ONLY actual intra-uterine, recorded womb sound to help lull your Baby to sleep in minutes! Sound and motion sensors re-activate recording when Baby cries or jostles bear. Additional hook and loop straps allow you to secure the removable audio box to crib rails, strollers and more!" This little gem is a MUST to keeping your child sleeping during the night!

When your child is older, you can remove the sound box and the bear can still be used as a lovey! Every mom I've given one too says it's wonderful! It is available in pink, blue and beige.

Click on the image for purchase option.