Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Thursday, August 2, 2012

TOS Review: Schoolhouse Teachers.com

     What can you buy for a $1 these days?  French fries.  Something from the "dollar" store.  Maybe a pack of notebook paper.  A full month of learning, creativity and discovery for you and your child.  Gotcha on that fourth one, I bet!  Crazy, but it's true: for just a buck you can give SchoolhouseTeachers.com  a try. (And for only $5.95 a month after that if you like it and decide to stick around!)
     My children and I have been using this site for about a month.  I'd like to share with you our experience, as well as give a brief overview of this online program. 

    A Brief Overview of Schoolhouse Teachers.com:
  • This is an online homeschooling resource for ages preschool-12th grade students (and their parents).
  • Includes everything from basic school subjects, great "elective" type studies, e-books, planners, homeschooling articles and SO MUCH more.
  • One of the latest innovations by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
  • Follows the concept of "Blended Learning": Basically, a mix of face-to-face and computer based education. 
  • Lessons developed and taught by homeschooling parents.  There is an impressive list of well-known and respected home-educators. 
  • Watch a site tour to get a better understanding on how to use the program.
  • Check out sample pages to give you a better idea of what to expect.
  • Warning: If you are like me, and just love new and fun ideas for your homeschool, you may get addicted to this site.
  • It will take a while to take it all in--there is so much available.  Just take your time and try a few things at a time.  You'll find the pieces that best benefit your homeschooling needs.
  • A quote from their website sums it up: "Seeking to fill in the remaining holes in your curriculum--or looking for a full-service curriculum to meet your needs?"  Check them out to find if this resource is the answer you've been looking for.

Our Homeschool's Experience:

     Under the tab "Schoolhouse Extras" you'll find the Schoolhouse Planners.  This is a very exciting addition to the website!  There are planners for every age group--designed just for their needs.  Don't worry, moms, there's one for us, too!  There are well over a hundred pages in theses planners.  It's so much more than a planner.  Also included are Bible readings, chore charts, important lists, etc.
     I had the most fun just looking through these planners. They were so inspiring.  Oh, to be that organized.  It led me to make a small change in my homeschool planning.  This year, with the help of the Schoolhouse Planner, I want to plan our home education one week at a time instead of one day at a time.  I think this will help us to better reach our educational goals.
     My boys both fall in the "intermediate" age group.  Below is a page from the Intermediate Schoolhouse Planner.  There were a couple of options to choose from as far as planning for the homeschool day.  I choose the weekly planner.  I was able to type in my sons' assignments that they will have that are identical.  I then printed out two copies, and I'll simply fill in their individual assignments in the blank areas.  A few things I really like about this particular planner: as you type more and more words, the type gradually gets smaller so that you can fit quite a lot into that little square; the area below for extracurricular activities, special notes, etc.; and the way that I can fill in the date and the day we are on.  With the Schoolhouse Planner, you can print out just one page, 10 pages or all of them.  Go here to see some sample pages of the Schoolhouse Planner.

     My 11-year-old son tried out some of  "Everyday Easels" lessons under the "Schoolhouse Dailies" tab.  I was so excited to have access to art lessons for my children.  This is definitely helping to fill a "hole" in our curriculum.  There are  five daily art lessons given on one topic.  One of the lessons we did was on Henri Matisse.  We studied his paper cut-out, Spray of Leaves.  The last lesson included making your own leaf art. 
     My son really is enjoying these lessons.  Even though they are on the computer, it is something we read and do together.  The other day we started the lesson which studies the photograph, "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" taken by Charles C. Ebbets.  The lesson led us into a great discussion--not just about the art form, but about The Great Depression, immigrants and fear. 
     Many times there are two different options given for varying ages for the art projects.  History, writing and other subjects are woven into many of the lessons.  New lessons are added each day/week.  You are still able to read/study older ones, though.  The lessons give links pictures of the art work found elsewhere on the web.  I have "tweaked" a few of the ideas given to go along with the art lessons to make them do-able for our homeschool--this was easy since  "Everyday Easels" gives so many creative ideas.
Painting a leaf...

Pressing it onto the paper...

Added a few finishing touches...

     My oldest has probably used Schoolhouse Teachers.com more that the rest of us.  My George Lucas-in-the-making son was beyond excited when I told him he would be able to take a course in Filmmaking.  (This course can be found under the "Schoolhouse Teachers" tab.)  He often asks when the next portion of the course will be added; he can't wait to get to the next one.  George Escobar teaches the course.  You actually hear his voice.   Class notes, pictures and diagrams are shown on the screen.  There are also links given to other information on the internet.  Below, you will see the notes my son has taken of his own volition.  Who would have thought my son could ever have taken a course on Christian Filmmaking?  Wonderful!!

     Interested in what others on the TOS Crew thought about Schoolhouse Teachers.com?
Check it out HERE.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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