Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Review of Schoolhouse Teachers - Online Homeschool Subscription Service

As a part of the Homeschool Review Crew our family was given an opportunity to check out and review a Yearly Membership to Schoolhouse Teachers (which is a division of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.)  I was excited to see all the new things they've added recently now that we were starting back into the 'spring' semester of our school year.

So what is Schoolhouse Teachers? It is an online homeschool resource site which is subscription based and has a Biblical worldview.  The rather small monthly fee gives you access to over 300 classes for almost every subject and grade level. Not to mention the other resources like planning and record-keeping, special needs, literacy center, and even a monthly menu that gives you a years worth of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks and desserts!  There is so much it will probably take you more then a year to truly delve in and get beyond just scratching the surface.

The content available on the site come in a variety of mixed formats like downloadable pdf's and streaming videos. Under the planning tab you can even see a Scope and Sequence that also has a video tutorial to help you figure out exactly what to teach and when. There is SO MUCH on the site that you might be very overwhelmed, but there are ways to easily navigate the site to help with the initial shock of everything that is available at your fingertips. The courses that are covered start with the basics like math, science, language arts, Bible, foreign language and continue to the extras like art, drama, and electives like intro to graphic design, photography, SAT prep, film-making, and homesteading. It is CHOCK full of every interest and area imaginable.

Whether you have a preschooler needing to start learning letters and numbers and shapes or a high schooler who wants to learn architecture or geology, Schoolhouse Teachers has you covered. I love that it has so much that each and every child could have their very own unique education tailored specifically for their needs and interests.

My eldest daughter has been very interested in France ... specifically Paris ... for quite some time. Recently she asked if she could begin to learn French. I have only taken Spanish so I wasn't ready to jump into learning a language to help her with her dream ... but Schoolhouse Teachers came to the rescue. I went on to the site and clicked on Foreign Languages under the subjects tab. Low and behold there was French! 3 full years with downloadable lessons broken into units.  There are pronunciation workouts, written exercises, and even French culture lessons and all I have to do is download it to the computer and then print out the worksheets and let my 8th grader go to town.  Here are some of her thoughts on her French studies:
French it is fun and interactive. I chose to learn French on my own because one day I would like to go to France and be able to experience it fully. I really like the way the language sounds. First you will learn the letters and their sounds. You will click on the speaker icon and it says the sound or word for you and then you repeat it out loud. I use headphones while I'm studying so that I can hear it better while things are going on around the house.
There are notes about the word you are learning that tell you what the French people use it for and compare it to how English speakers use it. Sometimes they even compare Canadian French to France French and then show you the area that word is more prevalent.  Every lesson has a "PE" lesson where they give you other words related to the ones you are learning and they also give you exercise or activities to do with that word so that you learn how to use the word properly and not randomly saying French words.  For each lesson there's a test that you print out ... my mom prints out several lessons at a time ... and you take the test. There's an answer sheet for each test as well. They encourage you to take the test again if you get multiple questions wrong. 
I've also used the Daily Writing prompts. They give you a short paragraph and then ask you some questions for you to start your own story. These writing prompts have helped me in being able to write my own short stories. I've been thinking I may want to be an author when I get older and these daily writing prompts have helped me expand my own writing ability.
My other daughter loves the Everyday Copywork section. Both her and my son have used that to work on their penmanship. Over the Christmas holiday she was working on a bunch of the copywork pages which were the Christmas Carols that had been added to the site. I printed several of them out and she was ecstatic that they were Christmas songs. She broke them up into one paragraph chunks, usually, and then would sing the song once the whole carol had been completed.  My son used some of the same carols. He was able to use the print version instead of the cursive version which helps him to become more neat in his handwriting. The copywork library now has over 175 selections ranging from literature and poems to Bible to American History and more. There are even some in Spanish and in French (which might really intrigue my eldest to use the French she is learning in a practical way.)

The site is very well laid out and makes navigation simple. There are tabs at the top of the opening page. They are separated by subject as well as grade level. There are even quick links which lists all the courses and their materials which can help you make a decision if that course will work for your family. Once you pick a course it has an intro page that tells you a little about the course, its length, age range, format, a teacher bio, and description of the course.

I will say that sometimes I think I was already logged in and then a child goes to get to their course to find out I've been logged out. It is hard to know if you are currently logged in or not which can be confusing since many of the pages look exactly the same whether you are or are not logged in.  This would be one area I think needs to be updated. There is a checkbox you can click to keep you logged in for 2 weeks, but sometimes it doesn't seem to work properly.

We've used many of the subjects and sections on Schoolhouse Teachers. It is a true enhancement to our school life. If one of my kids get a hankering for something we can usually check it out here first. This is what I've done for my son and his recent interest in geology. What I typically do is find the subject in the section and print out his lesson. Some lessons can be downloaded individually or as a whole course and then printed. Others may be able to be read from the computer and then answered in a notebook. It is really easy to work in the the lesson or subject of your child's interest into your own daily schedule and structure. I love that we can change up the school year and add extra interests in that are for each individual child.  I also just recently saw that they have photography lessons ... something I will need since I was blessed by a brand new camera for Christmas!

Right now through the 15th of January you will be able to LOCK-IN a special promotional rate. After the 15th Schoolhouse Teachers will be increasing their rate.

Use the code CHRISTMASYEAR to pay just $9.95/month or $90/year. After January 15th the rate will go up to $19.95/month for the same monthly service. That's a savings of 50%!

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}

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