We’ve spent the last couple of weeks testing out the yearly membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I’ve used it, tried it with my kids, and now I am here to review it for you. I hope this post helps you decide if this would be a good fit for your own homeschool. I feel very blessed to get to test things out so that others can make better choices about what to use with their own kids. This site provides internet-based homeschool classes that you work through at your own speed.
At first glance, there is a lot of information available. You can access classes on your schedule, as they are not live. Classes can include text, video, printable consumables like worksheets, and many other resources. There are also resources for families and teachers, not just for students. The website also adds classes as the year goes on, so I feel like I will probably never run out of material to use with my kids. I don’t have any kids older than elementary school, so I will primarily talk about what is available for the younger crowd. I did, however, look over the available classes for older kids and the parent section of the site; there are a ton of great resources available. In fact, I wish had older kids so we could have spent the last two weeks being mad scientists as a part of the chemistry course instead of what we wound up doing. But, that’s just the science nerd in me. The science classes for older kids look really good.
I went back and forth with what I wanted to do. You see, I only have so much time to look everything over, and there are a lot of good choices. My top choices were:
- Charlotte Mason Preschool Lessons (from the section Supplementary Curriculum and Materials for Parents)
- Sensory Learning for Toddlers (from the Toddler section)
- Daily Grammar (from the Dailies section)
Then, I hit the mother lode. I found a 16 week course on ASL, ASL Adventure. It has video, information on deaf culture, and lots of vocabulary and practice. We have a winner, folks. But, seriously, the other classes are going on my list of things we are doing next. It’s time to start school with my almost-four-year-old and I have no excuses now. Also, I have been planning on adding in daily grammar anyway; I just hadn’t found a curriculum for it yet. I was planning on writing something up for my oldest everyday. Now, I don’t have to. That gives me more time to spend teaching, not planning.
The website is organized by age range. You can click on PreK/Elementary and see all the classes for that age range, or click on Parents for parent and teacher resources like recipes, planners, and encouragement for your homeschooling journey. The only thing I was a little bummed about is that the age range is so broad for where my kids are. For example, I click on PreK/Elementary, and see a class I want. I click on the class, only to realize that it is actually for upper elementary kids. Then I have to back out, try another, and maybe fail at that one too. It’s just a huge age range, so I wish it was broken down further so navigation would be easier. For what you get, it’s a minor inconvenience.
We got started on ASL Adventure, and I was very impressed. The instructor signs as she teaches, so it is good exposure to a lot of different signs. The first lesson is all about deaf culture, how ASL is based around concepts or ideas and not translated word-for-word, and some things to be aware of when signing. I loved this, and we split watching this first video up into three sessions. Each class is only about 30 minutes long, but my kids are young, and I wanted to make sure that we could discuss each little bit with one another. It helped to watch just a bit, then discuss what we were learning. We have been learning ASL in my family for 7 years now, but we have never heard such a thorough explanation of some of the topics she covers. Other resources besides the video classes are printable games, worksheets, printable tests, and verbal quizzes each class. If you want to learn sign with your family, I can’t recommend this enough. You need to learn with others, and small children can follow along well enough, but if your kids are upper elementary or older, they will get a lot out of it as well. Who am I kidding? I got a lot out of it.
I was trying to explain what 90% looks like to Turbo. I put out 10 tea bags and said, “If these tea bags were each a deaf child, only this one has parents who learn sign.” This was referencing a statistic we learned that only 10% of deaf children born to hearing parents have parents who learn ASL. He said, “So, all the green ones?” I was holding a green one in my hand; I should have gone for red. We are working on it. He will get it eventually.
There is so much online learning available besides this one class we took, so I hate to throw so much information out there about it, but it’s mostly what we used. The other thing I can say I was super pleased with is the homeschool planner. This is a printable resource and has more forms than I know what to do with. I have purchased expensive planners before that that I loved, but I haven’t been able to afford them in subsequent years. I have also put together free planners from across different sites, which takes forever. This is a one-stop place to get everything you need to plan out your year. There is also a student version which I plan on implementing next year. My control-freak organizationally-motivated son needs this in his life in a big way.
I adore having at least one computer-based homeschool program that we regularly use during the year. It changes things up for us and we really need that sometimes. I also enjoy having access to printables so I’m not always scrounging up workbooks that go along with what we are studying. This site, which is a division of The Old Schoolhouse, is going to be a great resource for us over the next year. A yearly subscription is regularly $139 or you can subscribe monthly if you prefer. A huge bonus for large families is that the membership is per family, not per child. If you have one child taking classes or ten children taking classes, the cost is the same.
Here is the Crew blog permalink: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/schoolhouseteachers-com-review/ where you can see what other reviewers had to say about this product. I hope you enjoyed this review; we aren’t often “doing school” during December, and you are more likely to see my kids like this right now than sitting in “class:”
Merry Christmas and happy homeschooling!
*This post originally appeared on BlogHer December of 2014.*