Homeschooling With Online Curriculum


This is Rebecca Kochenderfer from When I asked our Product Testers to recommend their Top 100 Websites, I was very surprised to find a curriculum site being recommended again and again –  I’ve watched these online services explode in popularity over the last few years. Today, I’m talking with John Edelson, the founder of Time4Learning, to find out why they have become so popular.

March 24, 2009

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Rebecca: John, what’s the secret to your educational services’ success?

John: Our homeschool families have given us lots of feedback over the years which we take very seriously. We talk to them on the phone, answer emails, and host a forum. In addition to endless ideas for improvement, they say that they like us because:

  1. Their children prefer learning with Time4Learning. Students can get bored of textbooks and workbooks all day, so shifting to an online interactive curriculum helps them learn. Not only do they respond well to the multimedia lessons and exercises, they also stay focused and engaged.
  2. Parents love the convenience and quality of Time4Learning. The automated sequence, reports, and grading is simple. The web-based materials work on any computer so there are no downloads. Since the quality of the lessons holds the children’s interest, parental involvement is required only in areas where the students have trouble. There is no need for routine paper shuffling and grading.

Rebecca: What is Time4Learning’s education approach? What grades do you cover?

John: Time4Learning is available from preschool to eighth grade providing language arts, math, and more. In math, for instance, we teach the entire math curriculum but we do it with humor presenting the concepts in an animated fashion that makes comprehension easy and avoids triggering any math phobias. The student sees and hears animated materials and is never confronted with a dry math textbook or workbook. While all students seem to like the interactive multimedia approach, Time4Learning is particularly popular with students who do best learning visually and who have attention issues that make text and workbook approaches difficult.

Rebecca: Is Time4Learning a comprehensive homeschool program?

John: I would be cautious about a curriculum that promised to be all that your child will need. My children are each very different so I treat each one appropriately. As an example, here is the starting point that I would take for a second grader in language arts and math starting with the language arts program. Reading is very important to us, so I’d schedule a weekly library visit to pick up new books with a daily schedule for reading. I’d have the children write in their journals each day for 15 minutes with rotating assignments through the week. In addition, I’d have a handwriting program to develop fine motor skills and proper penmanship. I’d recommend Time4Learning for the bulk of the language arts curriculum. Time4Learning’s language arts curriculum is thorough in its coverage of phonics, grammar, vocabulary, verbal comprehension and reading comprehension. For math, the Time4Learning curriculum is great. I’d add math drills for the math facts if more practice is necessary.

Here are a few screen shots to give you a feel for the lessons
Click any one of them to view our Demos

Rebecca: Has the economic recession hurt you?

John: So far, not really. I think it’s because the value and simplicity of Time4Learning feels right to our members. For a monthly fee, a student gets complete access to the system. They can start or cancel at any time. We don’t ask for a long term commitment. If Time4Learning is not working out for some reason, we let families switch out at any time. We even have members who use us seasonally. They’ll sign up for Time4Learning every January and stop in June. They say that by rotating curriculum every year, the kids stay more engaged. For new members, Time4Learning provides a 14 day money-back guarantee. Anyone can sample our lessons our review our lesson plans at any time on the Web. We answer our phones (not outsourced) ourselves here in our office. We answer email questions seven days a week. It’s old-fashioned support which our members really appreciate.

Rebecca: Last year, you added What is that about?

John: Many homeschool parents say that teaching writing remains a difficult subject for them. Parents find that giving feedback on writing is subjective, it can be a friction point and unnecessarily time-consuming. Time4Writing provides a series of eight-week courses in which students have weekly writing and other interactive assignments. Each student has the same teacher through the eight weeks so the students really get a lot of one-on-one attention. We have courses for high school, middle, and elementary students; and similar to Time4Learning, Time4Writing is entirely online. All the student needs is a browser and about two hours per week. Interested parents should look at the writing course choices.

Rebecca:  How would homeschoolers find out more?

John: There are interactive demos and of the lessons and details on the curriculum on both and  Many parents show these lesson to their children to see if it appeals to them. The parents forum is a great place to get other parents’ input on how the curriculum might work for you. Or if you have questions, you can email us or give us a call. 954 827-7600.