Thursday, August 9, 2007

How we got to Time4learning.....

We had decided to home school our kids the year before and we still hadn't gotten ourselves situated in a routine. I would buy workbooks, text books, flashcards and software all relating to education. We even went to the library about two days a week but nothing seemed to be what I was looking for in an education for my kids. Our hunt for curriculum was a little different than what some kids need because of our kids' situation.
My daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 6 and in Kindergarden. She was in the process of learning to read when she would stop reading and blink her eyes and lick her lips. We had no clue what was wrong with her so we took her to the pediatrician and he thought it was odd behavior so he sent her to have an EEG. Little did I know the day we had the EEG her life and ours would change forever! The lady administering the EEG looked at me immediately and said she is having seizures and has had 30 in the last 10 minutes. I was shocked. I wanted to cry, hug her, search for help and just hope I was dreaming all at once. She was having hundreds of seizures a day. We were referred to a neurologist and things only got worse for our little girl. They decided to put her on medicine to take away the seizures but the medicine made her very sick. She was losing weight from throwing up and the doctor said to keep her on the medicine.
. She couldn't go to school because she was so tired from throwing up so much and being so sick. She began to fall behind in school and wasn't learning much of anything so we made the decision to bring her home to learn. We bought book after book through the first 2 yrs and she just could not memorize or retain anything like her multiplication facts. One of the side effects of her seizures is when she is learning or reading something and she has a seizure her mind kind of clears so we have to start over what we were doing at the time of the seizure because she has no memory of what we were doing. It makes it very difficult and definitely takes a lot of patience on both of our parts. We started to notice that when something was put to music and made into a song she would learn the song and was starting to memorize things easier! Well most curriculums don't come with music to all their books. It's mainly just books and workbooks which was clearly not what she was going to be able to do at this time so the search continued on and I told my husband we are going to have to just put the kids back in public school. I kept thinking I just can't do this! My husband told me we agreed to try homeschooling and that he really wanted to help me get through our daughter's illness. I was doing a search online and came across
I fell in love with it the first day. Where was this program when I was at all these home school fairs trying to put different pieces together for each child and spending hundreds of dollars only to feel like I still was missing something? I enrolled my daughter and she is doing great. It gave her EXACTLY what she needed! The sound and animation was enough to get her mind going. She could do just a little at a time if that was what she needed to get through the day. If she is sick one day then she can skip that day without falling way behind. She was probably behind a whole grade level in math and was able to learn and move at a slower pace in math but move faster in Language Arts. She has loved to log on and do her work and see her accomplishments by getting a star or a check mark as she moves along. I think it has really helped her realize that although her life is different than most kids her age she can still make it in life it just takes a little extra work.
While dealing with all that I had my 12 yr old daughter complaining on how she hated to be home for school and her work was boring. She hates reading and so she pretty much hated any curriculum we tried. We decided to let her try time4learning also. She has made a big change in the way she looks at her work and her attitude has greatly improved. She does not complain at all when I tell her to do her school work. She absolutely loves to be on the computer so this program has been a great thing for her. She knows that if she just does it then it will be done and then she can play on the playground part of time4learning. There are pages that you can print that go along with the work they are doing as resources or a little extra work and she loves to do them. This way she can keep up on school work but also still get practice writing and doing paper work still. I think it gives her a sense of independence that kids her age need. She is in control of how long it takes and she likes that. She knows everyday what's expected of her! We traded in our old computer and got one more up to date for the kids to do their work on and I hadn't had the time to get the printer connected and everything yet and she was just so concerned that she had papers to be printed for school that needed to be done so while we were at the library that night she went to the computer and logged on to T4L and printed her papers so she could do them all the next day.
You can't ask for a better curriculum than one that all your kids like. Our 4 yr. old loves the cute little animation on T4L. The activities she does each day change all the time so she continuously stays very interested. She climbs in the computer chair which is much bigger than her and puts on her headphones which fall off because she is so tiny and does her work. It is so easy to navigate that she tells me “ Mom it's ok if you go do laundry. I can do it all by myself.” When she finishes she knows their will be a little arrow pointing to exactly where she needs to go next. She is learning the sounds of her letters and is on the road to learning to read.

When they finish each day I go online and check their grades and if they didn't do well enough I can have them redo just the lessons they need a little extra work in and help explain anything they might not understand. That was one of the most important qualities I was looking for in a curriculum. I love how it teaches my kids independence and boosts their self esteem.

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