Friday, July 23, 2010


My previous reviews of here and here were not exactly glowing, and I still feel that there is a lot of room for improvement, but… here is Anna’s opinion the other night:

  • Anna (after she carefully dragged her monkey, and the software repositioned her jungle animal into predefined location on the screen): Mama, why did it move my monkey? Why??? It’s now in the air! I wanted it on the tree!
  • Me: You know, this is a great question. I think software does it, because it wants to make sure that you don’t put one monkey on top of each other in the pile. Then you cannot count them. But the people who created this software gave it to us, so we can ask them questions and tell them what we like and what we don’t like.
  • Anna (excited): I really like it! Tell them that I like it!
  • Me: But maybe we can find something else that you will like even more?
  • Anna (firmly): No, we won’t. I like this one. I want to keep playing with Bunny and her friends.

So what exactly does Anna like? Mostly I think she likes the sense of accomplishment when she completes the task and can progress to the next screen. It’s her first time using computer almost independently (I still sit next to her to answer questions like the one above), and I am impressed with how quickly she mastered drag-and-drop with a track pad. I need to find a smaller mouse for her – mine is too big for her hands.

What I like:

There is a very limited set of choices once you select an activity. I think this helps kids focus on what they are doing instead of contemplating what they could be doing next. For now I bring her directly into an activity of my choice and let her go as far in it as she is interested going. Most of the time she chose to go to the end even when the activity was boring/repetitive to my adult mind.

I like the variety of activities. I did have to jump to the second half of K Math to find something interesting for Anna, but the section introducing addition and subtraction is great. We always had a bit of the block in this area when I would ask Anna how much I would need to add to 1 to make 3, and she would always say, "you need to add three”. Playing the addition game seemed to help her see that I need to add up to three, not to add three more.

Kelly from One Little Room helped me find lesson guides - they are more hidden from parents than they should be. I didn’t use them, but I looked through them and they do a good job explaining how to introduce the activity and also offer additional extensions and printables/worksheets.

Is this an ideal program for us? No, but I am still considering signing up, because essentially I will get access to an entire K-8 set for all the subjects. I don’t want to sound snobbish, but $19.95 a month is not an exorbitant sum for our middle-class budget – maybe I can make one less trip to Michael’s every month.


The girl who painted trees said...

I let Bear go to the addition page today, but she got a little tired of it. She much prefers Reading Eggs.

Julie said...

I'm glad to hear you're warming up to it. Do you know if you can use it for more than one kid? For example, can you have access to preschool math and 1st grade math at the same time? With two kids, I would love a program I can use with both.

MaryAnne said...

I will say I hate software with monthly fees like this. I would much rather pay more once and be done with it.

Joyful Learner said...

For games, I second Reading Eggs. They have a great program and it works really well until you get to the higher level. We are now having technical problems at this stage because they used a newer version from here on. I'm still trying to figure out the bugs.

The only other problem is that we will be done with level 10 and they are not planning to come out with more until next year. I purchased a year's worth of membership and we'll be done long before that! Decided it's not worth it for the money you pay.

$20/mo for a computer program sounds like a lot to me. I like to get more for my buck. said...

There are so many educational games online nowadays. I'm glad you've introduced your child into the 21st century.

Keep up the writing!
~Early Childcare Resources

Raising a Happy Child said...

@Joyful Learner:
I believe that they go to $15 a month if you pay quarterly. I looked at Reading Eggs, but it seems to have only Reading. Dreambox has only math. What I like about Time4Learning is that they have all of it - I think it's overall worth it, and I am paying "on demand" instead of yearly membership.

Ticia said...

Your comment at the end cracked me up, "One less trip a month to Michaels." Sounds so familiar.

Christy said...

We can afford that amount, but I don't know if it would be worth it for us. I really enjoy reading your reviews. I love your honesty.

Waterdreamer said...

We are not warming up to it at all. I wish there was a placement test to find out where your child is. I find myself spending way too much time trying to figure out what lessons are right for my son. And even after all that he is not interested at all. We are doing Reading Eggs and Math U See. Its a better combo for us.
After reading what you said about Reading Eggs we only bought a 6month subscription. We are Map 8 and we do a lesson a day. So that should be more then enough time to complete the program and do tons of review. LOL although I did splurg and bought all the book sets. They should be here next week. I want so books that my son will be into reading and he liked the starfall books. Plus I can use them for any future children too

Kylie said...

Thanks for your feedback on this. I have always wondered about this program but I to would just rather pay a once off fee. In fact for Reading Eggs I just bought the discs. I have 3 kids so in the end I think it will work out better for us.

I may have a closer look at T4L though.

Pathfinder Mom said...

I can understand the concerns stated about the one time up-front payment vs. monthly, but I have to say that if you pay $20 once and you hate it, no biggie. If you paid for the equivalent of a year up front for a package $240 - and you hate it, you'll kick yourself for a long time. Been there, done that!