Looking at the SchoolhouseTeachers.com site can be overwhelming! There are now over 400 courses available for the whole family and narrowing down what you want to use for your kids (and for yourself) can leave you with your head spinning. Let me walk you through how I use SchoolhouseTeachers.com for my family and how to choose which resources will best suit your homeschooling needs.
If you haven’t heard of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, they are a membership site with hundreds of courses ranging from full semester- or year-long courses to one-off classes; from popular resources such as Drive Thru History to planning tools and encouragement for the homeschool mom. One price covers your whole family for the year (or month, if you choose the monthly option). You’ll find courses in all the core areas plus many, many elective classes to ensure your students are well-rounded and can find something that fits their talents and interests.
Checking Out Your Homeschooling Options
Obviously the first thing you need to do explore the site. Dive into every nook and cranny and just see what is available.
I recommend starting with the navigation menu at the top of the home page. You can peruse by grade or subject. There is also a section for videos, and also the World Book feature (World Book *is* Common Core aligned, if that is something that you care about or would prefer not to use).
There are limitations to what you can view as a non-member, but I’m including some links further down so you can view a few of the resources we’ll be using this year. You can see a description of the course as well as the course outline, you just cannot view the actual course itself (duh). I admit that seeing inside the courses does help me choose if we will use it or not.
Once you are a member, you can add courses to your “collections” so you can come back to them later. This is usually what I do so i can see what appeals to me at first glance, then add it to a collection (you can do this by year or by child, by subject, topic, etc. – you name the collection whatever you want) and come back another time after I’ve had more time to think on what will work. I tend to get more ideas after looking through everything.
Determining Your Homeschool Needs
What I’ve done is look for any gaps that I want to fill in our chosen curricula. We pull from many different sources for our homeschool, but sometimes I just draw a blank on what to use, and SchoolhouseTeachers.com can easily give me some new options to consider.
I have noticed we are really lacking in geography and I’d like to add some history videos to give the kids something wholesome to watch when they claim they’re bored. So I went up to the navigation bar and chose my oldest’s grade level for this coming year and scrolled down to the appropriate sections.
Then I went through those and opened anything that looked interesting in a new tab. I looked at the course description and outline and made a judgment call about using it or not. Anything I wanted to use was added to my collection.
Choosing Courses on SchoolhouseTeachers.com
I mulled these over for a few days and then went back through again and removed a few from my collection. And that’s it! I have what I will use for next year more or less queued up and ready to go!
Some will require downloading and/or printing but I’ve tried to pick ones that I can open and go and then close them once we are done with that lesson. It’s not hard to get back to them next time we pick up with the next lesson or activity.
My favorites are history videos, and again, since I have those added into a collection, I can login, go to my dashboard, and pick what we want to watch at any given time. The kids love the Drive Thru History videos in particular.
Here are a few of what we have planned for this school year:
- Everyday Explorers: Australia and New Zealand (this one was created in part by Bonnie Rose Hudson, for whom we have reviewed her elementary science collection)
- Creation, Nature, and You
- Dinosaurs and the Bible
- Drive Thru History: American History
- Discovering American Folktales
One feature that is new is the forum. I have not had a chance to try it out yet, but I like that it’s a place (that is NOT Facebook!) to talk with other moms and get tips on what resources are awesome for what our study plans are. I know this will be a valuable resource once I get set up. I do believe it’s a separate login from the main site.
Resources for Mom
I also like to go through and see what kind of resources there are for me. There is a Just for Parents menu option on the dropdown under “Resources” and these range from tips for homeschooling your children, how-to articles, faith resources, and encouragement. There are also tons of tools to help with planning, organization, and even e-books about all sorts of things. I actually missed the e-books up till now so I’ll have to go back and look at those! There is always something new for me to find when I check out the site, and I appreciate that they are always adding more items.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a Christian organization and I do not believe they have any courses or materials that present an old earth or evolutionary viewpoint. World Book most likely does due to its Common Core alignment.
We personally use SchoolhouseTeachers.com as a supplement to our core curricula, however there are enough courses available that you really could use only this one site for your entire homeschool. You also only need one membership for your family; there are no separate logins for each child for you, Mom, to keep track of.
You can purchase a membership on either a monthly basis or yearly. I fully understand why you might want to see if it’s a good fit before you purchase an annual membership.
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.