For the past few weeks I’ve seen a trend among my friends whose kids attend public school. It started right around May 1, when households everywhere flip the calendar to the new month and see — usually scrawled in a child’s big, bold letters — NO MORE SCHOOL!!!
Some of my friends react with sighs and sudden stomach aches, making mental note to refill their antidepressant medications. Others hop online or scan the local news for summer camp listings, swim lessons, festival dates and just about any other activity that will keep the kiddies occupied and off of mom’s last nerves.
It’s not just the longer parenting hours and added expense my friends are dreading. They know full well that Johnny, who just made major strides in reading and math this year, will inevitably go through summer learning loss, reversing his progress by “approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills during the summer months.”
Meanwhile, as a home-schooler, I also suffer the “What do I do with him all day?” crisis right around this time of the year. Sure, we could home-school year round: many families do just that. But I need a break, too, and I’m not even the one whose brain is having to wrap itself around new concepts daily. I just want a few weeks to catch up on my pleasure reading, to maybe learn a bit of CSS and, I admit, to play a few new video games that have been awaiting my attention. But how do I do those things and keep my kid entertained, while protecting against “summer learning loss”?
It dawned on me this morning that I really don’t have to change a thing that I’m doing. I just have to call it “Summer Break.”
See, we’ve been using a program, Time4Learning for the past year. My son adores the interactive, quick lessons and funny cartoonish-games. I love the brief 5-question quizzes that check for comprehension and mastery, and the “Portfolio” that tracks his progress. It’s perfect for homeschooling, but as I’m starting to realize, it’s perfect for summer school, too.
Now, I want to point out that this entry is being filed under the “Sponsored Venom” category for one reason only: Time4Learning credits members who blog about the program. Even without that renumeration, I’d rave about this program, anyway. It’s done that much to make my life — and my son’s schooling — easier. And I tell everyone I know about it. Just ask Chelle.
Or ask my friend, whose son despises the “busy work” his teachers send out: the repetitive worksheets, the copy work and general educational regurgitation that’s a hallmark of an over-extended teacher who can’t take time for one-on-one with each kid. Since his school was having a “half-day,” but my friend couldn’t take off from work to be with him, I offered to watch him for the afternoon. When he arrived, The Big-Eyed Boy was sitting at his computer, clicking away and laughing.
“What’s he playing?” the little boy asked.
“He’s doing school,” I explained.
Five minutes later, the two of them were sitting side-by-side learning about multiplication. Not that they knew it: they were too busy having fun.
When my friend picked her son up, he gushed over how much fun “doing school on the computer” is. His mother pointed out that he really does love computer games. What kid doesn’t these days? But what amazed her was that her son — who just the prior evening had thrown a tantrum while working on a math worksheet his teacher had sent home — could now understand the concept of multiplication. She says he now asks to come over every day after school and “do more school” with my little boy.
I finally told her about Time4Learning, and how it’s perfect for after school, summer school and, yes, even homeschool. With a scope and sequence designed to meet National Standards, it’s perfect for both supplemental, enrichment education as well as primary subjects from preschool through middle school.
Of course, her first concern was the cost. Having spent a small fortune (and I mean that) on homeschool curricula we abandoned mid-semester, I was wary when I first checked out Time4Learning, too. But at $19.95 per month ($14.95 for each additional child), with a 2-week money-back guarantee, I couldn’t find a reason not to try it myself. For less than the cost of a couple of those annoying workbooks, Time4Learning offers:
» Language Arts
» Science, and
» Social Studies.
I can’t emphasize enough how great a difference the program has made in our homeschooling day. My son looks forward to his computer time, and he consistently makes strides day after day, week after week. Meanwhile, not only can I be confident his core education meets our state’s standards, but I also have more time — and patience! — to work with him in other areas. Together, Time4Learning and I are providing my son with an amazing, year-round education that he actually enjoys!