What is every homeschooler’s dream? Everything all in one place, right? SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a resource that is striving to make that dream come true.
math videos and printables
recorder videos and printouts
Spanish videos and handouts
– and these are just the ones I have looked at!
Because my children are 4th grade and younger, that is where I have focused my time so far but I know that there is so much there. Whether you have a toddler, a middler, a graduating senior, or are looking for something to enrich your own learning, SchoolhouseTeachers.com has at least one topic for you. You can view sample pages on the site without signing up but I highly recommend signing up for the first month to really, truly see what is available. After all, it is $3 for the first month (as of the date of this review) and $12.95 a month after that. When you sign up for the yearly membership option ($139 at the time of this review), you get everything on their site to use with everyone you educate in whatever way works best for your learners all year long.
Books are a favorite in our home so we hit the literature areas first. In the Pre-K/Elementary menu, we started with the Literature option. The book covered this month is All The Places To Love by Patricia MacLachlan. Even if you get nothing else from this review, go borrow this book from your library. It is absolutely beautiful. All three giggly girls loved it. They loved the language of the book. They loved the paintings in the book. They loved the setting of the book. They loved the meaning of the book. They got it! The lesson for All The Places To Love involves questions about character, setting, plot, etc. These discussion points came easily as the book is so beautifully written that all of these things just jump right out and are understood easily by the kids. The lovely language of the book just allowed the lesson to flow so easily and the discussion of simile was amazing. Even the 4 year old giggly girl got it. They went around the house finding all sorts of things to describe using similes.
The Literature Kit is another one that we are currently using. The book for this one is The Quiltmaker’s Gift, which I had never heard of before. We zipped over to the library to see if they had it and, after a bit of searching, came away with it. The older two giggly girls read it, at least twice each, before we even had a chance to start it as a family. We have read the book as a family and will be starting the activities next week. The activities include quilt history, having a tea party, Bible connections, math, doing things for the community around you and serving others, and some craft options. There is so much in this kit! I am also looking forward to using the Literature Kit for All of A Kind Family which we used as a read-aloud about a month ago but the girls are already asking to read again.
One curriculum area that homeschoolers often ask each other about is math. Another seems to be spelling. A third often is writing. The Dailies menu at www.schoolhouseteachers.com has something for each of these areas. While we have not yet checked out the daily writing, we have used both the math and the spelling.
The spelling is fantastic. J, my 4 year old giggly girl, has been working on reading and I wasn’t sure if she would be able to handle spelling yet. I was wrong! The PK/K spelling is perfect for her and she absolutely loves it. It is a little bit slow moving for her and we used a week’s worth of lessons in one day since she was able to read and spell the words in it. She has worked through the first five lessons and is not ready to stop anytime soon. We try to conserve paper and ink where possible so instead of printing out the lessons and cards for the activities or drawing on paper, we used a dry erase board and ABC sticks that we had made from popsicle sticks.
While the older two giggly girls are not yet using the spelling for lower and upper elementary, they will be after the beginning of the new year. They are currently in the middle of a spelling list related to a book they are reading but I like these spelling lists and activities. I can very much see us using these lists. I also really like that there are options for the level of spelling list needed so you can pick which will work for each student.
Because we have not had good luck yet with a math program for the oldest giggly girl, I was most excited about the math on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I was extremely hopeful that this would be the one! There is a lot of very good math included here. Our oldest does not like video instruction and this is video based, with minimal example problems, so it does not fit our need. I was hopeful about the fact worksheets and timed worksheets because this is a gap in knowledge for the girls . Again, for us, they were not effective. One that I printed out for multiplication fact review had half the page reviewing multiplication and the other half reviewing two digit addition. I found this variation in learning on most review pages that I looked at. I can see this working great for someone who is truly reviewing and not trying to still learn the facts. I cut it in half and gave the multiplication half to the older giggly girl and the addition half to the middle giggly girl.
So, who would this math program work for? I think this style of math would be fantastic for one who thrives on video instruction. Also, if you were able to start your child at the beginning or if your learner is fairly young in math instruction, it would be good. For us, with learners trying to fill in gaps in knowledge and learn facts, it just didn’t work. We will be looking at it again later for our youngest giggly girl.
We fell in love with the Spanish lessons! These lessons are found under the Pre-K/Elementary menu and we actually started with lessons that are in the archives. We went back to the beginning and started with vowel pronunciation. The instruction is clear and includes video with audio so we are able to see what the teacher is talking about and hear the pronunciation. It moves at a great speed for us. I hope these lessons are some that are on there for the long term. We will certainly be using them.
The girls have been learning recorder so we were excited to see recorder lessons, as well. These are, again, video based which is wonderful for recorder. There are also printables for each lesson so that the student can practice without a computer. This is another great curriculum addition.
There are so many resources on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. The Old Schoolhouse, the parent company for this website, has created something that is very worth while. If all of the curriculum choices don’t win you over, there are also Extras! Full homeschool planners, back issues of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, past supplements, video presentations from The Old Schoolhouse Expos, and, after you have been a member for 31 days you begin to get E-books that you can access. (Personally, I can’t wait for these. Books? Yes, please!)
A few things to note:
- If this looks remotely like anything you might be interested in, do more than look at the samples page. I personally think the samples do the site a disservice. This site has tremendous value and opportunities. I would recommend that you purchase the first month’s service for $3 and spend some time checking the actual courses out to see if they fit your needs.
- The content on this site is not static and what is available will change. So, you might find 6 things this month that are fantastic for your homeschool and SchoolhouseTeachers.com might have 8 that are perfect next month. You can download and save anything that interests you and print out worksheets and such to put aside for the day they meet the needs of your lessons.
- Don’t rely on the search function to find what you are looking for, as it is not as effective as I was hoping. Dig into the menus where you think what you need might be. This gives you two benefits: one – you will probably find other wonderful things to come back to; and two – when you do find what you are looking for, you’ll remember where it is.
- Bookmark what you are working with and you might be able to find it easier. For example, I have save the PK/K spelling under the folder of the giggly girl who is using it. When I click that bookmark, it takes me to the page of the archives where her lessons are at. This way, I don’t have to go through numerous pages to get to the beginning for her. Do note, however, that it didn’t work for all subjects that way. For some reason, when I tried to bookmark something in the math, it took me to the most recent archive lesson rather than the one I wanted. But, overall, this worked well for maneuvering through the site.
I want to close with one more thing that we have absolutely LOVED from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. There is a Children’s Story Corner with animated story books, some of which are animated with music and singing. My, oh my! These are a huge hit with all three of the giggly girls. I do believe that we have listened to them over and over every single day since we signed up. When you have learning, funny characters, and singing, life is good.