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Mid-Year Curriculum Update

This year we changed things up quite a bit curriculum-wise for our 6th grader. If you read my post Our 2016 – 2017 Curriculum Plans then you may remember our 6th grader had a full line-up of workbooks plus online curriculum. Around October I realized he was greatly lacking in his history knowledge and I was struggling to find a way to make the subject fun and memorable. (History is my least favorite subject.) Researching online I stumbled upon the Acellus Academy homeschool program. I tend to research things to death, so I watched MANY of the sample lessons and talked to fellow homeschool parents in online groups who also use Acellus.

Acellus Academy is an online video lesson program where students watch videos of a teacher teaching a lesson, then answer 5 – 20 questions after the video. A typical day’s lesson may include 3-5 videos, depending on the length of the videos. Best part of all? It’s an app you can download to a laptop or tablet, and the children can wear headphones so they aren’t disturbing others.

On Acellus, our 6th grader is taking:
6th Grade Math (once a week)
6th Grade Language Arts/Reading (5 days a week)
6th Grade Science (3 days a week)
Ancient Civilizations (2 days a week)
Middle School Health (2 days a week)
Middle School Finance (2 days a week)

In addition to Acellus, he’s continuing to take:

Saxon Math 7/6 (4 days a week)
Easy Grammar 6 (3 days a week)
Switched on Schoolhouse Spanish (3 days a week)
Spelling City (4 days a week)
IXL online (2 days a week)
Computer Coding

All in all, most of the book work he now has is the Saxon Math. He likes math, but like most kids, he doesn’t want to spend a lot of time doing problems. It takes coaxing, prodding, and sometimes even bribery to get our son to complete the number of math problems Mom deems appropriate.

Fast-forward to this week, we started our 3rd grader on the Acellus Academy homeschool program as well. I had noticed her watching some of her brother’s science and health lessons she seemed to really enjoy them.

Here are the courses our 3rd grader is taking on Acellus:
3rd Grade Math (once a week)
3rd Grade Language Arts (5 days a week)
3rd Grade Social Studies (3 days a week)
4th Grade Science (2 days a week)
Ecology (2 days a week)
Fine Arts – Music (2 days a week)

In addition to Acellus, she’s using:

Horizons Math 3 (4 days a week)
Sequential Spelling (LOVE this spelling program!) (5 days a week)
Easy Grammar (3 days a week)
IXL online (2 days a week)

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Curriculum

 

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Curriculum Review for Time4Learning

Recently I signed up for a 1-month free trial for Time4Learning.  In exchange I agreed to write a curriculum review on my blog.  So, here it is…. 🙂

We have a daughter starting Kindergarten and our son is starting 2nd grade.  They both initially loved Time4Learning and the cute little mouse animation at the beginning.  The program is very simple to navigate, even for our youngest child.  The biggest thing I had to remind both children was to use the Time4Learning “back” arrow when they finished a lesson and wanted to do another one instead of hitting the “x” in the right corner.  Even when they did make this mistake, it was easy for me to get them back where they wanted to be in a few clicks.

The Kindergarten lessons were fun, engaging and totally had our daughter hooked.  She would typically go through 2 lessons, visit the playground area and sometimes go back to do another lesson.  I loved that I could adjust the time setting for how long each child had to stay on lessons before they could have access to the playground.

Our second grader enjoyed the math, science & social studies lessons.  The lesson animations were at age level and were kept short enough to not lose his interest.  He was less than thrilled with the Language Arts lessons which all seemed to start off with sock puppets singing and dancing.  This might not be a problem for some second graders, but he felt the sock puppets were too young for him (babyish – my word, not his) and all the music and singing along with the sock puppets was a major turn-off for him.  I wish that I could have skipped the sock puppet part and just jumped ahead to the heart of the lesson.

The concept of earning “playground” time was confusing for our children at first.  Our Kindergartener expected there to be an actual playground looking animation for her to play with.  When I explained she could click on any of the numerous games listed she was fine with it, but then several days later she kept mentioning she couldn’t find the “playground”.  I think it just took her a while to get the concept that the playground was a list of fun game links.  Our son also seemed disappointed in the playground at first, (again, I think he expected something completely different) but once he played several of the games I could tell he was enjoying himself.  A better name for the “playground” would be the “game room” or game area.

Overall I was quite pleased with Time4Learning, but at the $20 per month price I would have to think seriously before using it for a full school year.  Science and social studies would likely need to be supplemented with library books simply to be able to delve deeper into the topics Time4Learning has.  I would also add in daily written work to tie in with what the children are learning online.  For our family, I feel that this would be a great curriculum to use over the summer months or perhaps one quarter if our children seem like they just need a change in pace from their current lessons.

On a scale of 1-10, (1 being terrible and 10 being awesome,) I would have to give Time4Learning a 7.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my review and feel free to add your comments below.

***Disclosure:
As a member of Time4Learning, I have been asked to review their online education program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. Write your own curriculum review or learn how to use their curriculum for homeschool, after school study or summer learning.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Curriculum

 

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