Over the last two weeks, I have had the wonderful experience of exploring and using many of the great resources at the SchoolhouseTeachers.com website hosted by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Over our seven years of homeschooling, our family has used many different types of curriculum and on-line tools. I have found very few that offer such an array of academic subjects for all ages as well as daily helps as SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Even in this, I am not doing justice in describing all that this site offers. Subscribers are provided with parenting resources, access to past issues of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and additional free resources with each new month of their continued subscription; not the least of which is the privilege of downloading all five versions of the Schoolhouse Planner applications.
Unlike many tools, there is something for everyone at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. There are very clear sections for Pre-K/Elementary, Middle School, and High School. Our family was all too thrilled to taste test a bit from each category. We began first however with incorporating the “This Day in History” mini-study right after our morning devotions. This allowed us to have some common discussion across grade levels about history topics. For example, on December 8th we learned that it was Uzbekistan’s Constitution Day. The printable material that came with the lesson provide a great mapping activity that challenged us all, but was also easily accomplished by even our 8 year old with a little assistance. With a little more exploration, we discovered that the Daily Copywork provided on the site was directly linked to the This Day in History topic. Daily copywork examples are provided in both print and cursive. It was especially exciting for our daughter who is studying Cultural Geography to be able to share that she had just studied about Uzbekistan and then proceed to provide us all with more information. I think she was delighted and gained a bit of confidence in being able to retrieve and share what she had previously learned.
Math is always a hot topic around our house as it is in most homeschooling homes. I was curious to see what was presented for our youngest who is currently doing a 3rd grade curriculum. The lessons for the first two weeks of December under the Elementary Math were on Multiplying by 10 and Adding and Subtracting Fractions with Common Denominators. Both of these lessons were great reinforcement for our son at where his current math knowledge is. A challenge of this area will be in providing something for everyone. After all, pre-K through all of elementary school is a very broad range. A suggestion might be to create a calendar at the beginning of the elementary math section that highlights which topics will be covered each week. When really thinking about the material in this section, my thoughts were leaning toward using these isolated topics as a change of pace on Fridays when age appropriate. It is also nice for moms that want to encourage their children to be more independent since there is a short video by Dr. Peter Price embedded in each lesson as well as printable practice sheets.
An area that I have always wanted to incorporate into our days was that of critical thinking and logic. This too is offered through this wonderful resource. Our 12 year old son has had some learning challenges over the years. Critical thinking was always one of those academic areas that to me was like “Which came first – the chicken or the egg?” Did he struggle with learning, because he lacked more critical thinking skills or were his learning challenges preventing him from being able to critically think through some tough material or problems. Our budget was tight as it is for most homeschool families, so this subject area was always put on the backburner. I also struggled in not knowing which curriculum to use. The materials in the middle school critical thinking and logic section have all the content you will need for each lesson, assignments, weekly quizzes and a parent answer key. Each of these items is in a printable format by week.
My last challenge for SchoolhouseTeachers.com was to see how the site did at the high school level. Generally most parents of high school students have found curriculum for the main core subjects. They are however always on the prowl for excellent supplemental or elective resources. We were blown away by the fact that there is a Filmmaking Course that is comprised of approximately 30 lessons available at no extra charge. The topics covered are very appropriate and challenging. A presentation is provided by George Escobar of the Advent Film Group with additional links and assignments for the students to further research and work on to develop their own skills. Our oldest daughter loves film, loves the cinema, and develops her own Christian film projects at home. We have encouraged her in her passions, but have felt limited on resources we could use to develop this passion into high school elective credits. After viewing the first few lessons and seeing the outline for the remaining ones, she was humbled and openly admitted, “Mom, I am really starting to see just how much more I have to learn to be a great film maker.”
The expanse of information and topics covered at SchoolhouseTeachers.com is astounding and way beyond anything I imagined that I would find. This became almost surreal when I realized that an annual subscription is just $5.95 per month. The annual cost of for this subscription is less than half of another popular film curriculum alone. There is just no other place that I am aware of that you would receive this breadth of knowledge for this price. Wanting to be really sure that I am spending each of our homeschool dollars wisely and as a good steward, there have been times I have delayed in purchasing curriculum because I just wasn’t sure if it was right. This happened for us in our challenge in deciding about a critical thinking curriculum for our son. We ended up doing nothing. If you are of a similar mindset, you may want to take advantage of the promo currently going on where you can have get your first month’s subscription for just $1.
I encourage you to give SchoolhouseTeachers.com a try for just a month and be your own judge as to its worth to your family.