Well, folks, this is my first official review as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. My first assignment? SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
I had seen this website before but never got beyond the welcome page. I was intimidated with the very title itself. This was in our earliest homeschooling days. And then there were the membership fees, too. Like a lot of parents, I preferred the free stuff floating out there in the Web.
Now that we’re in our third year of homeschooling, I’ve become more discerning with curriculum. “Free” doesn’t necessarily mean good quality and good values, or even easy to use!
I got to use http://www.SchoolhouseTeachers.com material for only a week but that was enough for me to conclude that it is a very good resource. The rest of my post will tell you why.
What is it exactly? It’s literally an “online schoolhouse”. You’ll find teachers showing actual lessons, lesson plans, lesson texts, worksheets (downloadable or easily accessed via online media) and lots of other useful things to help with homeschooling from Pre-K to 12. It has a Christian perspective, for those interested to know what the site’s religious leanings are.
The website is owned by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine LLC, a company that offers “resources and encouragement” to help homeschoolers the world over. It publishes the print and digital editions of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine which is full of interesting and useful content. However, this review will only look at SchoolhouseTeachers.com , a division of the company.
How much is it? Right now the membership price for the first month is only US $1.00 (or PhP 40.00!!). After that it’s back to the regular price of US $5.95 or roughly PhP 238.00. That is great value for that price because of all the content offered on the site. It’s like a goldmine of curriculum, available 24/7. If I were to hunt for and buy the lessons and other materials on that site individually, it would cost so much more than the membership price. The price is definitely worth it.
As of this post’s writing, SchoolhouseTeachers.com is offering a discount of about $15.00 for the annual membership package, so all you’ll be paying is $49.00. If you’re based in the US, there’s a free tote bag and the 2013 Annual Print Book plus a lot of other promos running now so go ahead and check them out.
What did we use? Here’s what I got for my 3 little learners:
Dearest Daughter (6 year old First Grader) – Asia: People and History and Lower Elementary Spelling. She’s learning to speak Mandarin and I thought studying Chinese culture will help her appreciate the language.
Dearest Boy (5 year old Kindergartener) – Spanish Everyday Copy work. He’s interested in Spanish and knowing some facts about Spain through the copywork was a good introduction to the country.
Little Swimmer (4 year old) – Alphabet Copywork. He’s practicing his writing skills.
What did we think about the material?
From the Dailies: Lower Elementary Spelling, Everyday Spanish and Alphabet Copywork
Fun! The kids enjoyed all of the worksheets. These were a welcome break from our routine. The spelling material was a word search which DD loves. Initially I thought it would be too hard for her but I was pleasantly surprised how she found all the words so quickly.
Easy to use. Little preparation was needed. Once instructed the kids can do the work on their own. That was a big plus because I’ve got 3 of them to teach. Anything more complicated would have stressed me out. The materials were easy to download and print off the website. There were only simple graphics so we didn’t use up too much ink. I also liked that there were answer keys provided right after each word group for the spelling material.
Bigger fonts. The font size on the alphabet worksheets seemed too small. They should be made bigger to accommodate the vision range of young children. The font sizes for the Spanish and Spelling material were large enough. Of course I could easily edit the material but it would be a time-saver if I didn’t have to.
Overall Verdict: Good!
Asia: History and People
We used Part 1 of the lesson on China for the review week. The material focused on three people groups living in different parts of China. The narrative is told from a missionary perspective which I wanted to start cultivating in our homeschool.
Practice for map-reading skills. The material is written in a way that makes you want to look for the places mentioned. This was a good exercise for practicing map-reading skills. Of course, DD loved that!
Practice for research skills. The material presented a challenge my daughter couldn’t resist – to search for information on the internet. We just had to find out which 3 countries were larger than China. This little exercise to look up facts online was a good opportunity to apply some research skills we learned earlier this year.
Outreach opportunity. I liked that the activity at the end of the lesson called for thinking about and praying for the people groups that were studied. I would like DD and the boys to have an outreach mindset. Making prayer cards was an easy and creative way to remember the lesson and plant that outreach perspective as well.
Bigger fonts: The online version appears in a bigger font size but DD likes to cuddle and read together which we cannot do with the PC monitor (no tablets or smartphones here) so I needed a hardcopy. When printed directly from the web the text appeared small and DD had to strain her eyes to read them.
Overall verdict: Also good!
Will I recommend this site to homeschoolers or parents looking for supplemental material to help their kids?
It’s easy to use, has what you need for core curriculum needs and is available anytime. It gives very good value for your money. I would like to continue with the program when the free membership period is over. It’s that useful.
And there ends my first TOS review, folks! If you have comments or questions, you know the drill…..
You can also check out the other reviews of this website from fellow Crew members. Just look for the Review Crew button at the bottom of the page.
I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.