As a new member of the 2018 Homeschool Review Crew (woot!), my first task was to review the Yearly Membership for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, which is an offshoot of The Old Schoolhouse magazine. SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a curriculum site with hundreds of different offerings, from full courses to unit studies. I am not kidding when I say this site has pretty much everything you will ever need for your homeschool! The three Rs are there, STEM is there, extracurriculars are there, foreign language, multi-media options, downloads for your student, and planners for tracking it all. It could be your one-stop-shop for everything homeschool, but it would also be a good adjunct to your existing curriculum choices. SchoolhouseTeachers.com is perfect for customizing exactly what you need for your children.
This article originally appeared on my old blog, Townsley Times. If you came here looking for this particular article but thought you were going to a different site, never fear, you’re actually in the right place. 🙂
This chart from SchoolhouseTeachers.com can help you understand how they are unique:
Many homeschoolers (and I am one of them) do not want to be associated with Common Core and I’m happy to say that SchoolhouseTeachers.com and The Old Schoolhouse magazine are NOT aligned or even correlated with Common Core.
As a Christian, and since most of my readers are also Christian and looking for Christian or neutral resources, I am approaching this review from that standpoint, versus a secular one.
Navigating the Site
The site is a little overwhelming at first! There are so many areas to look through to find what you need (or things you didn’t know you needed!). You can browse by grade (down to preschool) or by subject. There are also special sections such as the Literacy Corner, High School Help, and Special Needs. In addition, there are centers for hands-on learning, Charlotte Mason, seasonal courses with activities for every holiday, career guidance for teens, the list goes on. There is so much VALUABLE information on this site. It seems to cover every aspect of homeschooling, from the early school years to graduation. If you are not yet a homeschooler but are considering online classes for your public school student, I would definitely consider homeschooling with SchoolhouseTeachers.com before looking at public school at home with companies like K12.
Something I really like about SchoolhouseTeachers.com is that it seems they are always willing to expand and improve. There are calls for submitting a course to their site or making a suggestion for something you feel is missing. There is a box to start a chat session on pretty much every page. I am guessing their customer service is top notch.
I want to mention a couple things I was especially impressed by: World Book and the video library.
Yes, this is the encyclopedia publisher from back when we were kids. They have created an interactive website with all sorts of amazing stuff! For example, there is a timeline section where you can select from myriad topics and see timelines of historical events. I saw timelines for everything from NASCAR champions, history of Cuba, and major life events of authors like Louisa May Alcott. You can add events, edit details, and create your own timelines.
There is a section for young children where you can print off coloring sheets and allow them to learn early computer skills by playing games like Concentration. There are other sections for science and social studies with material for all age groups. I found an experiment that will be perfect for our upcoming geology unit, with no references to the age of the earth. You get access to all of this with your membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
Please note that World Book is explicitly aligned with Common Core, but since it’s included in the membership (i.e., I’m not exactly patronizing them), I would feel comfortable using it for certain pre-screened activities.
There are hundreds of streaming videos available for your homeschool (or for your leisure) from popular content providers like Drive Thru History and RightNow Media. You can take online electives with the videos on art and music, focus on history lessons, or try out a foreign language.
In a few clicks, I found an hour-long video about Corrie Ten Boom and right below it, there is a downloadable worksheet and some essay questions. Despite the fact that the site is a little overwhelming, I love how once you dive in, everything you need for a unit study or longer course is right at your fingertips. You can bookmark videos as you find them, which makes it easy to come back later with your student.
For this review, we focused on the elementary homeschool courses since my oldest is only six. I chose a unit study from the “family” section (appropriate for all ages) about the Great Depression and a fun art course about colors. We also explored the free access to Musik At Home.
Eyewitness History: Hunger and the Great Depression
This lesson is an ebook that you view in pdf form. You can download it for later or print it out and read from it like a regular book. I chose to just sit at my desk and read it out loud and stop as needed to explain things since it’s not that long. It’s an interview with Dr. Ruth Beechick, with commentary for context. It only took about 15 minutes to read through and discuss. My six-year old seemed to understand much better than my four-year old, but they both seemed interested. It was on a higher reading level than they are used to but it’s easy enough to stop and explain as necessary. The end tied in with the Bible and was a message I really needed to hear right now, so I’m grateful I chose this one.
Elementary Art: Introduction to Colors
The girls have been really into painting and coloring as they both received art supplies for Christmas, so I thought they would enjoy this activity about color mixing. My six-year old has a pretty good grasp on which colors combine to make other colors, but my four-year old is still learning. This is also in pdf form. It is meant as six lessons but we did them all at once since they are short. I intended to do it with paint but ran short on time and went with colored pencils instead.
Musik At Home
With the membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com comes varying access to other sites, like World Book. Musik At Home provides free access to their Family Music for Preschoolers online class. It features a 20ish-minute video for each lesson and tips for engaging with your child during the activity. It sort of reminds me of the Music Together classes I did with the girls when they were really little. We stopped going to those because it was expensive and honestly hard to manage with more than one child. This is more along the lines of what I’ve been looking for!
Musik at Home is actually the Musikgarten curriculum and you can order the scarves, shakers, etc. that are used in the class. My kids loved this (age 6 down to age 2 all paid rapt attention), even without those items. It teaches not just music and movement but also exposes them to different rhythms and tonal patterns. It fosters a playful experience between parent and child(ren) as well. There are 6 classes and 9 bonus lessons included.
Stuff For Parents
Homeschool moms love printables and organization tools, right? Well, there is a treasure trove of homeschool planners, calendars, scope and sequence charts, lesson plans, certificates of achievement, and checklists. Bonus: You can try even out their free schedule builder without being a member. There is also a meal plan with a dinner for each day of the year, with a link to each recipe! It’s a great resource for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to plan things out or look for recipes. For parents of highschoolers, there is record-keeping software that you can use for transcripts, attendance, etc.
Homeschool parent support is available with courses on how to homeschool efficiently or get through difficult seasons in life. There are even adult unit studes, which kind of made me chuckle, but they are on useful topics like organization, home ec and choosing a curriculum.
Need More Info?
You’re in luck, as there are dozens of other homeschool moms who have recently reviewed this site! You can check them out on this post from the Homeschool Review Crew. And as always, feel free to leave a comment if you have a question or want to get in on the conversation. Also, if you are considering a membership, feel free to join their Facebook group to learn more about what SchoolhouseTeachers.com has to offer.
Through the end of November, you can get an annual membership for $40 off, making it just $139 per year! You lock that price in for renewals, too.