I’m trying something new this year. I’ve been reading reviews for over a year now from people on the Homeschool Review Crew, and decided it sounded like an interesting thing to do. Throughout this next year, I’ll have the chance to get free curriculum or other things to use with the children, and then write an honest review of my opinion of the product and how we used it. The first product I was asked to review was a Yearly Membership at SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
Apparently, I had a free membership a few years ago, when I subscribed to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I enjoyed that magazine, by the way, but when they changed from print to digital it no longer worked for me because I don’t have a phone or tablet to read it on. Anyway, at that time I never even investigated SchoolhouseTeachers.com, but in the past month I’ve spent a fair amount of time exploring the site. It’s great!
One of the things I used the most was Everyday Games. I printed out several math games to play with Mr. Sweetie. His favorite was one in which you throw a die to go around a game board. Most of the spaces have addition facts on them, but some have a penguin. If you land on a penguin, you go back to start; if you hit a fact that adds up to 11, you get an extra turn. He loved that game, and we played it over and over before we quit doing school for the summer. Another game I printed had circles all around the edge with numbers in them; you wanted to cover up two numbers that added up to 10, and get the longest string of tokens in order to win. There was another that required adding up to 13, and Mr. Inventor and Mr. Diligence got into that one the one day. They stole it from Mr. Sweetie and I, and spent a lot of time playing it! With that game, you could use either two or three numbers at once, which meant you had a better chance of getting the longest string. They loved the challenge. These are such simple games, but my imagination isn’t good enough to come up with something like that on my own. I look forward to trying more of the games as we need to reinforce different topics in reading and math.
Another course we used a lot was Drive Through History. Mr. Intellectual loved those videos. He’s been working his way through American history using them. Each video is about half an hour long, and follows the narrator as he goes to various historical buildings and tells the story of what happened there. I’ve heard a lot about what my boy has learned from them. There are worksheets to go along with each video, with two pages of simple questions and a page of more involved essay questions. Mr. Intellectual’s only gripe with the worksheets was that some of the questions were out of order, making it hard to answer as he went through the video.
We’ve also been enjoying the Videos tab. We don’t generally spend money on DVDs (I’d rather buy books), and we don’t watch very many, but occasionally we like to spend an evening together watching something. Actually, I should clarify. The rest of the family likes to do that; I don’t get into movies much. We discovered a gold mine on SchoolhouseTeachers.com, though—the Torchlighters series of cartoon-style animated movies telling about the lives of famous Christians. We’ve watched several since we got access to them, including the ones about Corrie TenBoom, Amy Carmichael, Samuel Morris, and others. The favorite so far was John Wesley, especially the part where he was thrown out of the church! One thing I like about these movies is that they are only half an hour long.
There are so many courses available on SchoolhouseTeachers.com that it’s almost overwhelming to look at it! There are over 300 courses covering all subjects, from Art and Bible to History, Geography and Science. Esther asked me recently about a bookkeeping course, and there it was. I thought she might be interested in the graphic design and photo editing courses, as well. I might have Mr. Diligence try out the course on photography; he loves taking pictures. There are even courses for parents. I read the articles included in “When Things Don’t Go as Planned”, and it really comforted me to know that other parents have had things go horribly wrong in their families as well, and to hear what another parent learned from God through hard times.
It’s easy to find exactly the courses you need, whether you are building a complete curriculum or just filling in gaps. If you click on the “Quick Links” tab, you’ll find a list of all the courses, sorted by topic. If you’re looking for courses in a particular subject or grade, there are tabs for those, too, and there is also a tab for planning. I just clicked on that one for the first time, and was excited to find some things I needed! Oh, and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine that I don’t read anymore because it’s too difficult for me, since all I have to read it on is my laptop and I hate staring at the computer screen that long? All the back issues since 2007 are available!
A Yearly Membership costs $90 for the next few days, but after January 15 that price goes up. Is it worth it? For me, no; I wouldn’t use the site enough to make it worthwhile. However, you could easily use the courses offered here for all your homeschool needs, and then it would be very worthwhile to buy the membership. Take a look at what is offered—it’s incredible!
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