Sep 11, 2013 Review- Ahrens Academy Explains Our School Day.

I have been contacted by a couple of friends that are concerned about their own children and the school they are in.  (Namely, one with a preschooler, and another friend that has a child not thriving in a private school.)  We are onto day four, and honestly, the formula I had devised before we started actually works for us!  Yes, it is scheduled to the minute, but we are done with more academics in four hours than most children accomplish in a full school day.  Luckily, I have been able to hone in on specific needs for each child.  That is the beauty to our program of choice.

The Time4Learning online program was one of the first programs that came up when I did a search for "special needs" home school.  I had remembered that name, and realized that it was the same program that I used for our daughter when she was too advanced to send into pre-k.  I home schooled her that year, and while I made up my own curriculum for her, I had used the website for part of her core curriculum.  I loved it.  So did she.

You know the saying, "You get what you pay for?"  That is totally NOT the case with this.  First child is $19.95 per month and second child is $14.95.  So, for about $35 a month, we get the five core courses, instruction, practice, quizzes, tests, and every bit of it is electronically recorded for me to print or save for future reference.  If basing this on a nine month school calendar, my entire home school cost for two children is $315.  That is amazing when you research home education options.  There is nothing like this program. 

Yesterday, my first grader came to me and told me that she didn't do well on a math quiz.  I then sat down with her and went over the concept.  She got it, after I did some more review on the concept.  Then, today, she was about to work on math, and expressed to me that she wanted me to sit in with her as she did math.  I did.  And it was more review of yesterday's concept, building to the next level of understanding of the same concept.  She got it!  I stayed, because I was enjoying watching her confidence soar.  Luckily, math is not a challenge for her brother, and he enjoyed the freedom of having me out of his hair.  (I like to have both children working on the same subject, in their own rooms, at the same time.  Personal choice.)

The parent can review the lessons ahead of time. I don't pre-plan anything.  I like to follow the curriculum as it is presented.  You can always go back and re-do a section, or parts of it.  There are printable reports as well that are easy to access on the parent screen.  It tells you every single concept that was taught, the grade they got, and when they did it.  I don't keep an attendance book, per say, but I do log my day, minute by minute, so that I have that for reference.  The state of Georgia requires that each child that is to be home educated has a Declaration of Intent on file, for each year.  Then, it is mandatory that each child is given a standardized test every three years, starting in third grade.  However, the interesting part is that the parent or home school instructor in our state does not have to report the results to anyone!  The Department of Education website specifies that instructional days should total 180 days, or 4.5 hours of instructional time, for able-bodied students. The program must provide, at minimum, instruction in reading, math, language arts, social studies and science, per the law.  The first grade curriculum has everything except the social studies curriculum.  I had the second grade social studies added to my first graders curriculum.   Today, I changed reading and language arts levels to second grade.  I called, and on the second ring, a person WITHOUT a foreign accent answered my call, quickly maneuvered me through the parent admin. page to make the adjustments and then immediately verified and made the changes.  (Generally, the changes may take up to 24 hours.  The customer service representative told me to log her out of her student account and log back in.  Everything was added!  
Here's a look at how "Ahrens Academy" uses the curriculum that meets and/or exceeds the common core standards.  

The first day we had this reading assignment, he made a zero and a 22.  This is his second reading assignment, and while his words per minute goal is still 90, today his second attempt scored at 51!  Double his highest yesterday!  Way to go! I love seeing these results.  
This was today, as we were doing it.  I fill in the times as they happen, but allow for at least 30 minutes for core.  Generally, Social Studies and Science are done in less time.  I am learning that I spend a little more time on math, reading and language arts than the suggested 30 minutes per subject.  

This is interesting.  My second grader has handwriting challenges.  He does not properly form his letters, and his handwriting needs improvement.  So, instead of doing the journal time, he is working on handwriting each day until we can improve the handwriting.  I have started with the letters in his name, and letters that would be formed similarly. There was a method to my scheduling for each letter.  I had to write them, then pair them up.  See the column on the right?  That is the order.  

The past two days of work.  To the minute including each break between each half hour segment.  They get five to ten minutes between each subject, with a fifteen minute break for snack, halfway through the morning.  Today, my children each chose to skip a break.  They wanted to finish earlier and get to a new Wii game.  Motivation ;o)  

I correct spelling, and today, I began correcting punctuation.  This from a couple of days ago.  

That was the mornings' book.  We read about an hour each day.  


Classical music helps the brain.  It is a calming sound in our home, as we work.  When my second grader was two and a half years old, he attended a  school for children with autism.  They had classical music playing throughout the little school house.  I loved it.  

Handwriting- in pajamas!

I had to correct the dates.  I will use this as my attendance record.  (What year am I in????) 

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 homeschoolafter school study or summer learning.


  1. Nice to hear good things about Time4Learning! We too use it, now at High School level nd it really has helped my boys gain confidence in their learning ability. And they were able to catch-up to where they should be for their grade levels!

    1. We used the program from September 2013- December 2013. While both children were engaged, and seemed to be learning, the carry-over was poor and I was not disciplined enough to make sure that we were supplementing with practice to correlate to each lesson or subject. After finding that we went through up to two grade levels in such a short time, and then I went to evaluate retention, I learned that we were not on target in that area. At which point, I opted to go the next affordable route- complete curriculum type workbooks. We have three of those, and have also moved very quickly through each one. Nearly six months into our homeschool experience, I have placement tested each child and have decided on continuing the Orton-Gillingham style of learning for my currently second grade son, and will be moving forward with the BJU curriculum for my seven year old daughter. While she works at varying levels, the store that sold us our curriculum was able to not only piece together various grade levels as dictated by my daughter's needs, but was also able to find deep discounts based on used books available.

      While I still think Time4learning is a great program, I think it takes a little more work than I was prepared for the reinforce each lesson. The children did love it, and were sad when a cartoon would no longer be presenting daily lessons.

      I had also used the program when my advanced daughter was home schooled for her pre-k program, and loved it then, as well. Would still recommend for anyone considering. I think the value is incomparable.