Today, I’m going to share an online homeschool resource I’ve been eyeing for some time – SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I was given access to this wonderful homeschool resource in exchange for an honest product review of te Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership.
I spent the past three weeks using elements of the site to supplement my homeschool with my Kindergartner and fifth-grader.
The site is organized in several ways. You can find resources by grade level, subject, planning, resources, videos, World Book and tutorials. I like that you can go to a particular resource quite quickly. I do something a little different each visit. I’ll dive into that in a second.
But a helpful hint is to use the Start Here page. It’s a simple overview of the site and a quick read. There’s also some great info on getting started as a homeschooler with curriculum choices, recordkeeping, and planning.
If you’re more of a video person, here’s a video overview of all the fantastic homeschool help at hand at SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
So, what did we find most useful in our homeschool? I’m going to hit on six key points in this review: Planning, Spelling, Everyday Games, the Video Library, and the World Book Encyclopedia.
I’ve discovered that I’m more of a take a plan from someone else and make it my own. I’ve been a teacher since I lined up my gaggle of siblings (10 of us!) in front of my chalkboard and taught phonics rules and shoe-tying. However, I need some structure to start with and then I can adapt. The online homeschool planning section of SchoolhouseTeachers is excellent.
The outlined scope and sequence for each subject area gives me some ideas of what I want to teach my three kids next year. I also wanted to get a glance at what I need to review before we do standardized testing. It’s not required in my state, but I do like to measure my kids’ progress each year.
Here’s a freebie for anyone to use in their planning – a customized schedule for any student. Download it here.
While scoping the scope and sequence, I discovered a spelling program that may help me extend my intensive spelling work with my oldest (possibly dysgraphic) daughter. She struggles a lot with written work, especially spelling, so I’m really excited about my finds. But more on spelling in a minute.
I got some great ideas of what we need to focus on in helping my daughter foster her reading and writing skills from the overall English scope and sequence. We’re going to work on some of the activities from the class Little Language Arts (specifically sentence and paragraph writing) in the next month or so because I’m not sure she’s comfortable with developing her thoughts on paper.
Here’s a sample of the lesson plan:
Finally, in my planning review, I discovered that they have a Microsoft Word online class! I’m a big believer in teaching kids how to use computers effectively. My daughter has been working on typing for about a year because our occupational therapist suggested this as a tool in our fight against the suspected dysgraphia (a written expression learning difference).
We recently started working on friendly letters and I realized that she may need some more formal instruction on how to use MS Word. It’s great that there’s a class for that on SchoolhouseTeachers. We’ll be implementing that class in March as an online homeschool elective.
I mentioned spelling under planning, but I wanted to share more specifics of the SchoolhouseTeachers spelling program. Your Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership includes a K-12 spelling program. It’s divided into four main categories – lower elementary, upper elementary, junior high, and high school.
Each program has two options – phonics-based lists and a Charlotte Mason-style spelling program. The traditional phonics-based, age-appropriate spelling program includes a list of words and activities for the week (use the words in a sentence, write definitions, and some story writing exercises). In Week 13 forward, you can add in worksheet-type fun in the form of crosswords, scrambles, and word searches. The Charlotte Mason Homeschool Spelling course is three years and focuses on copywork and dictation exercises. It uses word lists from Scripture, famous speeches, and classic literature.
There’s a video element that accompanies the copywork and activities (synonyms, editing exercises, and syllable division), which gives students a way to practice a form of French dictation (where you leave words or letters out and have students fill in the missing letters).
We’re not there yet, but I really like this approach to spelling. We’re currently working on the copywork as a way to practice spelling words and cursive. My daughter needs practice in tracing cursive, so this is perfect and I can pick and choose which lists to use with her.
Everyday Games – Skill Practice!
SchoolhouseTeachers has a wealth of skill-specific games for kids to get some extra practice. We’re using several of the multiplication games to sharpen my daughter’s fact recall. She’s memorized her facts through skip-counting and is struggling to get over the hump of some of the times tables. We’ve used games as a means to cement addition and subtraction, so we’re working on this next crucial math skill with these games.
Another area I’m using the Everyday Games is for specific spelling rule practice. I realized that one of my daughter’s struggles with spelling is that she doesn’t recall the rules when she’s writing. So, as a way to reinfoce our rule memory work, she’s using spelling games from this collection to learn the rule.
My Kindergartner is blowing through his phonics program, so we’ll probably start adding some of these reading games to review skills this spring. I love finding games for elementary students., and this collection is a wonderful find.
My kids love to ask big questions. My son is going to LOVE upper-level math. He keeps asking me questions like, “How many pounds is the grocery store?” and “How many music boxes are in the world?” But he’s only five and can only read Bob books and similar readers, so I love to hand him a video that’s been screened by parents who care about what their kids watch. I don’t have time to screen everything, so I’m thankful for the notes on content that are included in video descriptions.
The video library includes videos from RightNow Media and courses offered at SchoolhouseTeachers. It’s divided by subject and I love that the Torch Lighters series about missionaries are available to match up with the missionary biographies we’re using in our Morning Time.
This might be my favorite resource at SchoolhouseTeachers. We used to have a subscription to BrainPOP and Britannica Online. We weren’t using them as often as I liked, and there’s a lot of questionable content in some of the articles and videos. I didn’t like that it wasn’t highlighted for us. SchoolhouseTeachers is great about making notes on content that we need to view or skip in this online encyclopedia. And I love having access to the same encyclopedia I used as a kid – except it’s online!
We’ve used this resource extensively in doing research for our presentations for Classical Conversations. We’ve looked at careers and holidays on it. We’ve looked at plants and animals and in the Early World of Learning (an interactive space for early learners). This section of the World Book reads articles and plays videos for the non-readers and early readers. There’s even a play area for kids to play some simple sorting and matching activities.
The EWO also has some early e-books for kids to work on reading skills. (This is one of the things I mentioned about screening on SchoolhouseTeachers.) There are notes about the content of these readers in the Literacy Center at SchoolhouseTeachers.com.)
The Kids section is for more traditional content written at a higher, but still easy-to-read level. I’ve sent my oldest here for research a few times. But my gifted son loves this section too. He loves that the computer will read to him. (He’s kind of in love with how artificial intelligence works.) He really enjoyed me typing in searches so that he can have the computer read to him. I like giving him the iPad and letting him use dictation to search. He’s going to be spending a lot of time “researching” in the coming months.
The Student section of World Book is where I do a lot of research for our STEAMSDay activities (a day per week devoted to one big question and learning that focuses on science, technology, engineering, art, and math). I used a groundhog video for our “Groundhog Day” focused STEAMSDay last week.
I’m really looking forward to using some of the other features from SchoolhouseTeachers.com and World Book Online in our homeschool. If you’re interested in purchasing this valuable online homeschool resource for your family, you can get the Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership for just $111 with the discount code ONES.
You can also see what other homeschoolers are saying about SchoolhouseTeachers at The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this review and if you decide to purchase this amazing resource. Be sure to leave a comment!