Friday, September 3, 2010

Review: Time 4 Writing

The Product

If the thought of teaching your child to write even a complete and cohesive sentence sends you running to the hills, then Time 4 Writing might be for you. Time 4 Writing is an online writing course for elementary, middle, and high school students. Each of those is broken into a variety of different courses according to your child's needs. For example, the elementary level offers the following courses: Elementary Grammar, Elementary Sentences, Elementary Paragraphs, and Elementary Essay. Each course is eight weeks long and provides 4-5 assignments each week. Students are matched up with a teacher who grades their work, providing comments, and corrections where necessary.

Our Experience

I used Time 4 Writing with my 4th grader and we chose to use the Elementary Paragraphs Course. I'd already used a program last year to help him learn to write sentences and structure a paragraph, but his paragraphs were still pretty weak. I was really excited to see if this online course could help him advance his paragraph writing skills a bit.

Each week the course begins with a video lesson that demonstrates the concept that will be the focus of the week. Ben didn't feel like the videos were very interesting. I watched several of them with him and it was a bit dry and also a bit distracting. The teacher is obviously reading from a prompt somewhere near the camera and her voice is fairly flat and unexciting. However, the videos are fairly short so students are able to move on to the actual work pretty quickly. Each week includes a couple of multiple choice quizzes, and a couple of opportunities to write their own sentences and paragraphs. The quizzes are graded automatically. The writing assignments are graded, usually within 24 hours, by the student's writing teacher. An email letting you know the assignment has been graded is supposed to come as soon as the grades are posted. We had a problem several times with this email not showing up, so we had to actually log in to see if the grades were ready. This was a bit frustrating, but not a deal-breaker for me. It was nice to have someone grading my son's work for a change. I was glad to have the perspective of another teacher. I did feel, however that she was sometimes too easy on him. Overall we were satisfied with our experience using Time 4 Writing.

The Bottom Line

Time 4 Writing would be a good fit for students who are really struggling with writing or for the homeschool student whose parent has a strong aversion to teaching writing. At a $99 per 8-week course, I do not find it to be very much of a value, however.

I received this product for free as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew. My opinions are solely my own and are not influenced in any way. I am not being reimbursed in anyway for this review. What I have shared is simply my opinion of our experience, your mileage may vary.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks April for this Time 4 Writing Review. I have seen reviews on Time 4 Learning, but not on the Writing part. I saw that you are one of my newest followers on Google Friend Connect, but I didn't see you left a comment on my blog. If you did leave a comment somewhere can you direct me to where it is? I am your newest Networked Blogs follower too. Follow me back on my NB blog if you'd like!
    Nice to "meet" you and happy homeschooling!
    Tracy at A Slice of Smith Life
    http://www.asliceofsmithlife.blogspot.com

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  2. Thanks April for your review. I am trying to find something for my grade 12 homeschooled student who is having difficulty with writing (...and I am having difficulty with teaching! LOL) I have looked at a few possibilities, and I am thinking that I will either use Time 4 Writing or Home2Teach... not sure yet. Will hopefully figure it out soon.

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