During these last few days, I’ve spent quite some time navigating through SchoolhouseTeachers.com, which I’ve been granted a Yearly Membership Option in exchange for my honest review. I found some materials that Super Hero and I will very much enjoy (more about this below), and we will certainly continue to explore this resource more in the weeks and months ahead. It’s actually impossible not to come across something that interests you. There’s so much in SchoolhouseTeachers.com that you are bound to find at least a couple of things you will want to use in your homeschool, regardless of your children’s ages.
The list of materials included is quite extensive. The main menu classifies it by topics and levels, such as for teachers, elementary, middle school or high school, family, dailies (activities to do on a daily basis), library, extras, samples and a site tour.
As soon as you login there are some lessons featured in the welcome screen that range from home economics, to filmmaking and history cut-out figures to lapbooking. Clicking on the Elementary section, which is what pertains to Super Hero, reveals a thorough collection on the following subjects:
- Animated books
- Art techniques
- Classical archaeology
- Classical history
- Figures in history (very nice quality)
- French – lessons come from FrenchEssentials.com
- Geography – lessons come from KnowledgeQuestMaps.com
- Home economics
At first, it took quite a bit of going back and forth for me to get used to the internal organization of the actual lessons, but once I got the hang of it, I was able to find what I wanted fairly quickly. Some of the lessons present differentiated instruction, that is, questions and/or activities are segmented by level: grades K-3 do this, grades 4-8 do that and so on. If you have children in different grade levels, this certainly comes in very handy.
An interesting group of renowned instructors offering a wide range of weekly and monthly lessons, is definitely SchoolhouseTeacher.com‘s chief strengths. I recognized many of these names as developers of their own stand-alone curricula. Kim Kautzer created WriteShop, a writing program I’ve personally used with Super Hero and liked very much. Terri Johnson developed Knowledge Quest, a beautiful history through maps program. Chris Yust authored KidCoder and TeenCoder, a computer programming series that seems to be popping everywhere I go these days.
Super Hero’s Picks
I had Super Hero login and select anything that piqued his interest. Not surprisingly, his first choice was science. We looked at a few Hooked on Science videos, which he thought were short and fun. Then he clicked on math. He thought the material was too easy for him, and indeed it was, but –”it is always good to learn new strategies, and I didn’t know this one before, so that’s good” he said enthusiastically.
Some subjects such as nature/outdoors, music and singing are directed to the entire family, which I love. And I particularly appreciated the fact that the Nature/Outdoors lessons actually include “Warm Weather Climates” activities. Believe it or not, 99% of the blogs and websites I’ve found on this topic of nature study contain only activities suitable for the northern states with the 4 beautiful seasons. Since we live in Miami, it’s not very practical for us to document a tree’s passage of time, for example, it’d just go from green to, well, green! 😉
Though we are an eclectic, secular homeschool, with a bit of an unschooling tendency, I like to do some core knowledge subjects consistently on a daily (or almost daily) basis. This grants some structure and cohesiveness to our homeschool. That’s why I appreciated the Dailies section very much. It offers lots of lessons on math, grammar, writing, copywork, spelling, history, astronomy and much more. My favorite was the Everyday Explorers segment which delivers a study on each state in the US and province in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, complete with coloring pages, notebooking pages and graphic organizers.
Extras include access to back issues to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Schoolhouse EXPO, the very thorough Schoolhouse planners, e-books and monthly discounts. This is quite a value, the Schoolhouse planners alone is totally worth the cost of the first month. And I should know, I published a homeschool planner in PDF too!
What Could Be Better
After perusing SchoolhouseTeachers.com for some time and getting familiarized with its content, I still feel its navigation could be improved. There are some things that unless you already know where they are, you probably would not find easily or quickly. For example, in the Everyday Explorers, I had to navigate page by page in order to get to the States that had been studied in previous weeks. Even though publishing materials on a weekly basis intended for weekly use, makes perfect sense, there should still be a way to get to the archives in a more direct way. Hopefully, this can be accomplished with just some minor tweaking, as it would be great to have a broad view of what’s really inside!
If you’re looking for an extensive homeschooling resource then SchoolhouseTeachers.com is definitely a sound option. You may wish to just try it out for only $3 the first month and then make a final decision. After the trial, the monthly membership is $12.95 or $139 yearly, for your entire family.
If you wish, you can read more reviews about SchoolhouseTeachers.com by visiting some of the Schoolhouse Review Crew’s blogs. Click on the graphic to see the complete list: