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SchoolhouseTeachers.com Yearly Membership Review
I wish I had known about SchoolhouseTeachers.com Yearly Membership when I started homeschooling. I feel so lucky to get the chance to use SchoolhouseTeachers.com with my children this year, and to review it for you. I know that for a lot of people, starting to homeschool is a scary process. I didn’t even plan on homeschooling! My husband and I decided on a Friday that our son would not return to public school, and I spent all weekend researching. I’ve got some pretty good research skills (thanks, law school, I just knew you’d come in handy some day). I spent a frantic weekend figuring out what in the world I was going to do. Thankfully, we made it, and now my oldest child is in fifth grade.
Homeschool High School: Planning For the Future
I didn’t find SchoolhouseTeachers.com back then, but I wish I had because it’s full of resources for parents and homeschooling families, for every grade level. I’m a planner, and even though my oldest is in 5th grade, it’s hit home for me that I need to understand what to do for middle school and high school. NOW. Not yesterday. I don’t want to spend a frantic weekend trying to figure out what to do for a high school transcript at the last minute. There are so many things on the SchoolhouseTeachers.com website that I wish I’d known about when I first started homeschooling. I feel relieved looking forward to high school when there are online electives and online classes for high school homeschool courses. The same applies to middle school because there are online electives and online classes for middle school homeschool courses, too.
I can’t cover everything on the site because it’s so big. It’s enough for a year for a large family with kids of all grade levels. If you want to try not using a box curriculum but you’re afraid to go it on your own, there’s enough here that you could certainly make a yearly plan out of it for all ages.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com Homeschool Parent Help
The more children I am homeschooling, the more I appreciate having some organizational tools at my disposal. This year I’ve got a Yearly Membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com. These are some of the tools for parents that the website lists:
- “Over 100 online courses for all ages–some with videos & most with printables
- Daily, weekly, & monthly lesson plans
- Daily checklists for each student
- A complete preschool program
- A free course tracker & portfolio maker
- Applecore, a safe & secure online record keeping system
- Digital planners for moms & students
- Lots of daily activities including writing prompts, grammar, & spelling
- Monthly reading lists
- Encouragement for the homeschool parent
- Back issues to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
- Free eBooks”
Like I said, it’s big! The fact that it covers both homeschool parent tools and curriculum is a nice combo.
Homeschool planners are a big deal. You get a yearly homeschool planner that includes the following:
- “Helpful articles written by homeschooling experts like Jeannie Fulbright, Kim Kautzer, Dr. Mary Hood, and Cindy Wiggers, as well as homeschooling parents just like you.
- Interactive calendars, planning pages, field trip logs, and transcripts.
- Notebooking and Lapbook resources
- Must-have lists, including common Greek and Latin roots, books of the Bible, grammar and spelling rules, a periodic table of the elements, U.S. Presidents and more!
- Helpful household forms such as chore charts, grocery lists, and meal-planning charts.”
Scope and Sequence and Lesson Plans on SchoolhouseTeachers.com
If you have not taught before, a lot of the educational jargon could be new to you. Do you know how to find the scope and sequence of a course, and what it means? Do you know what lesson plans might look like? I don’t bother writing lesson plans for my homeschool anymore, but if I’m considering doing a lesson that someone else wrote, I’m glad I’m used to reading lesson plans because I can evaluate whether or not we want to do that lesson.
The website has help for you as a teacher – actually it has a lot of help that I wish I’d seen my first year of homeschooling.
Courses on SchoolhouseTeachers.com
There are lessons plans for many courses, but not all. If you feel overwhelmed about using lessons plans at SchoolhouseTeachers, there is a video tutorial.
- Computers and Technology
- Drama and Speech
- Electives (Account, Architecture, Inventions, Trucks, etc)
- Foreign Languages
- Health and Fitness
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Unit Studies
The Bible Adventure Stories come in multiple different languages. I was so excited! The stories are not easy readers, so you really need to be able to read the language to use them.
There are also Donkey Ollie movies! My kids are enjoying watching these.
Foreign language is one of our “big deals.” My children are in their 5th year of studying foreign language and I am soon publishing a book on how to homeschool foreign language.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com has many foreign language courses, and also a foreign language and ESL support in the Focused Learning Center. There is a course that covers 32 weeks of Latvian. I don’t know where else you’d find homeschool Latvian course. There are also French, ASL, Latin, Biblical Greek, and Spanish.
French is what interests my students at the moment for our home use. There is a two (possibly three) year course for middle school through high school, but if an elementary school student is ready for it they can also take it. We are hosting a foreign exchange student next year, and while almost everything we say will be in English to her, we’d like to learn enough little French and German to be welcoming. There is a course outline and transcript information. There are also lessons on culture. We have started just the beginning of it and enjoyed the first couple of lessons. I think it’s a fantastic budget alternative to live classes.
There are printables and units on a lot of books that Sonlight assigns, such as Strawberry Girl, Carry on Mr. Bowditch, and Owls in the Family. Sonlight’s entire program is great, but not a fit for everyone, but their literature is so good. It’s great to see these here. If you were looking to add to a Sonlight level to combine all of your kids, you could do it by adding on these units.
Interesting note on Strawberry Girl – When I read this book to my kids, I was surprised to see that it covered property rights legal issues that I didn’t hear about until I went to law school. The unit for Strawberry Girl includes guidance on doing a book report at the end.
At the moment in my homeschool, we’re reading the book Sergeant York’s Great War. I was able to put “Sergeant York” into the search function and find out that October 8th is Sergeant York Day, and there was a free 2-page fictional story on Sergeant York. It was a nice way to introduce the book to my kids so they would know what we’re going to read about, and they enjoyed it. It’s an advanced book and the intro helped my younger children to get into it.
On the other hand, if I were somehow pressed for time and wanted to skip Sergeant York and do a different book, I could have used the story to cover the subject very quickly.
Photography, Cooking, inventions, the Iditarod, transportation, the Appalachian trail, the story of maple syrup…I feel like we could take a week and spend time doing anything the kids are interested in without following a formal schedule. You can buy additional things that are recommended for a Unit, or you can just do the activities that don’t require you to buy anything else. The plans are like guidance for you to choose the things you want to do to teach a unit. The plans I looked at were not the kind of thing where you check boxes off – at least not until you’ve made your own plan with boxes to check. You can use these as supplements to your boxed curriculum, or as a way to start learning how to homeschool without a boxed curriculum.
There are some courses that look particularly interesting to me as I look ahead to middle school and high school. There’s a course on Internet Entrepreneurship that my 10-year-old is interested in, but it’s meant for teens.
There is a lot of history, but I’ll give an example of what I saw to supplement what I’m using to cover WW1 right now. I like to find videos to supplement our readings, or sometimes to skim one topic so I can go deeper into a different topic. There are videos on YouTube, but I have to search through and we might have to try several videos before finding a good one for kids. For example, I found preview videos for WW1 on YouTube, but I didn’t find anything in depth that would be appropriate. SchoolhouseTeachers.com had a four-part WW1 video on chaplains in the video library (each part is a half hour, making it easy to fit into a week of lessons).
I’m already looking ahead to high school math because my 10-year-old is very advanced in that area. My oldest child is getting ready to start pre-Algebra, and I know that he already knows a lot of the concepts of pre-Algebra, so I think he will go through it quickly and then be ready to start Algebra. I checked out the Algebra course at SchoolhouseTeachers, but it wouldn’t be something that I’d use. I’ve used Math U See since my oldest child’s first-grade year, and I really like having the DVD lessons. Math U See is not cheap, but I can’t imagine trying to teach my son Algebra without Mr. Demme’s video lessons.
I looked up the 7th-grade earth science course. It includes videos from Core Academy of Science, http://www.coresci.org, worksheets, and tests. The videos are mostly lecture. They’re limited to about 15 minutes. I previewed through several of the videos. I would sit with a middle school child and help him learn to take notes while listening to something like this. It includes a comparison of the way that secular scientists use dating methods, and the way a young earth creation scientist might look at the same dating methods. I felt like it tried to be an unbiased look, and present the problems with both the conventional model and the creationist model. My oldest has been expressing a strong interest in this area, but he is only in 5th grade, so we started binge-watching rather than trying to take notes and use it as a formal course. He’s enjoying it and asking me lots of questions.
Out of curiosity and an obsessive need to plan, I checked out the high school biology course. To my surprise (I am a newbie to this whole home-school-high-school thing), it’s pretty good, and looks a lot better than the biology course I took in public high school. It includes scheduled lab work. I’d need to order the lab supplies separately, of course, but there’s a list of what I’d need to order and it looked reasonable. The bio course is what I would call Christian in content. The 267-page course book is mostly text, but there are some photos. I know that many people look for colorful books, but I feel like they can be a distraction for many kids. So, the course book would work for me, but it might not be what everyone prefers.
I felt better looking through the high school coursework because I felt like, “Hey, I can do this…high school will be ok…” It’s familiar to me to sort of look through a catalog of available courses, and then pick some.
Besides courses, there are also smaller unit studies. Each unit study doesn’t have enough content for a full course by itself, but it’s a nice supplement. The way the website is set up, I can easily add unit studies on what my children are interested in.
World Book Online
You get access to World Book online, and it’s helpfully integrated with the SchoolhouseTeachers.com. My family already has access to World Book online through our local library, but I have used it more in the past few weeks because when you are browsing around the SchoolhouseTeachers.com website and you click on a subject, resources from the World Book might be shown if they relate to that subject. For example, if you search for foreign languages, suggestions in World Book pop up. It’s a nice convenience that means I don’t have to work as hard to find the quality content that I want to show my children.
Besides being a source of encyclopedic knowledge, World Book online has several features that I really like:
- Maps: A feature I love about World Book online is the online maps. It’s surprisingly hard to find historical maps online.
- Research: There is a course on How to Do Research, and entries often have citation recommendations. I want my kids to have an understanding of citations, but at this point I want them to be able to easily and independently copy a proper citation. This is great!
- Virtual Field trips: My kids have been interested in studying French, so we looked up Paris. We were able to see photos, maps, and video/audio. It was more in depth than just using Google maps and a better overall experience because I didn’t have to hunt down separate photo and video/audio.
- Safer: Good source of information without needing to worry about things that might pop up on a YouTube search. The content is typical of what you would find in any encyclopedia, so it might not conform to your worldview, and all content might not be what you would consider appropriate for your child, but I feel like it’s a lot safer way to let my ten-year-old search around without me watching him every second.
- History Review: There is a “Today in History” Feature that is a good morning opener and history review.
- Timelines: There are multiple timelines available, such as a timeline of animal extinctions since 1600, or the black death from 550 to 1920.
- Ebooks: There are lots of ebooks to read, including classics, early readers and nonfiction picture books. I found the nonfiction picture books the most useful for us.
- Printables: There are printables. I’m not a big user of printables, but I know they’re popular.
- Spanish: There are easy reader books in Spanish. I was looking for French easy readers, but I didn’t find them there.
- Science: I encourage my children to learn science as independently as possible to foster a creative and engaged mindset, and there were many areas where you can let your child explore and click around. You need Flash enabled.
I had a little bit of trouble figuring out how to navigate back home when using the World Book online website (it’s at the bottom rather than the top, FYI).
Part of the problem for my younger children in some areas of World Book online is that they do not “scroll down” well. Everything needs to fit on the page or else they get confused and miss things. So, I found World Book Online a lot more useful for my 10-year-old than for my 7 and 5 year old children.
Cost and Value
Membership is $139-$179 yearly depending on if you are doing high school or lower grades. I got a membership for free because I am on the Schoolhouse Review Crew this year.
I made a rough estimate of the total value of the things at SchoolhouseTeachers.com that I will use within just the next couple of months, if I purchased them separately:
- $100: 7th grade science course videos. My son is really interested in this and we will watch the videos together even though he is in 5th We won’t do the whole course because we have other science this year, too. (Price estimated based off of when this was offered separately by the course makers – it is no longer offered separately).
- $20.89: Homeschool Planner (Price estimated based off of purchasing a popular homeschool planner)
- $14.99: WW1 Military Chaplains DVD (we will watch the video through the website)
- $9.99: Donkey Ollie DVD (Bible stories for elementary school).
- $99: French Course (This course is not offered anywhere else, so I used the average price of French courses I was considering using)
- $50: World Book Online. (This the pricing I could find for a yearly family membership to World Book online, however, a it turns out I get free access to Worldbook online through my local library).
- $13.99: Reader’s Theater Course. (I valued this based on the price of purchasing a Reader’s Theater book). I found some free resources but not very much for only 2 children, and the ones I did find weren’t in a very child-friendly script and I’d have to retype them.
- Dinosaurs and the Bible science course for elementary school students. This includes a lot of videos that are around ten minutes long. My kids and I binge-watched the videos to go along with the other science stuff we do. There were 16 lessons, with somewhere close to 160 minutes of video. That would easily be three DVDs worth of content, maybe more because kid’s DVDs seem to often be shorter.
Just in the next few months I’ll be using resources that if I purchased separately would cost me $258.86. It would cost me $308.86 if I didn’t get Worldbook through my local library. These really added up, and I only counted the cost of the things I’ll use I the next few months, but a membership will last all year. I expect to find more things to use this year as time goes by, especially with video library. Videos alone could easily add up to $50-$100 more. A Yearly Membership to Schoolhouseteachers.com would cost me $139 this year. I’d say that’s a really good value.
Even better, right now there is a promo going on and you can get a Schoolhouseteachers.com discount promo code.
Join during SchoolhouseTeachers.com’s 2018 Fresh Start New Years Special and Save!
$90/yr (reg. $179/yr) Coupon Code: NEWYEAR18
$9.95/MO (REG. $19.95/MO) Coupon Code: MONTHNEWYEAR18
SALE – New Members ONLY.
01/03/2018 – 01/31/2018
Sale ends: 31 January 2018