Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Over the past few weeks, the kids and I were given the opportunity to try out the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a complete Christian curriculum for grades preschool all the way through high school. It covers a wide variety of subjects, including several interesting electives such as computer/technology, art, music, foreign language, and even cooking.
Initially, I wanted my older elementary kids (4th and 5th grades) to add the typing courses to their curriculum. They had some typing when they spent a year in private school, but I still feel that they are slow and pecking at the keys.
This course was just not a good fit for my kids. I expected it to be a course that would be presented online as SchoolhouseTeachers.com has a variety of both printables and online courses available. However, this course was full of pages that we had to print, and the kids were overwhelmed by the assignments. So, our first try was a bust.
But we were determined to continue on to find something that worked for us! After all, this is a comprehensive site with video resources, audio books, electives, etc. There is something for everyone, whether you are trying to just supplement your lessons or want a complete curriculum. Both of my older elementary kids have been struggling with math, so I thought I would give that a go.
Once my kids find something they don’t like, it’s truly hard to change their minds. So, I had to start from scratch and find a way to get them excited about trying out a new site. I decided to choose from the long list of games offered that make learning fun. Since they have both been struggling with math, I chose the Snowman Cover All game. Success! My kids loved rolling the die and creating equations to equal one of the numbers on the snowman. The game helped to sharpen their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills and kept them occupied while I focused on the kindergartner. (Don’t tell them they were learning while playing!)
It was time to let my kindergartner have a try. She decided that she was interested in the music elective, so we clicked the link and were pleasantly surprised to find a course on the recorder. Bingo! We just so happen to have a recorder from the fifth grader’s class from last year.
She loved the ease of the class and spent a lot of time trying to figure out the proper curve of her fingers over the holes (we’re still working on mastering that) and blowing at the right rate to ensure her notes don’t squeak. The videos are catchy and keep her interest, and they are short enough for a six-year-old’s attention span. She looks forward to her recorder lessons now, and I am pleased that she is learning an instrument at such a young age!
The literacy center is also something that I plan on working on further with my kindergartner, especially, as it offers several different resources to help her learn how to read. I love that there are checklists for each level to ensure that my children are on task for their age level. The best part is the number of free resources available, including grade level readers and additional literacy resources for my students with special needs.
The focused centers are also an amazing resource to help me strengthen areas where my kids are struggling. While I haven’t had the opportunity to use them yet, I am definitely looking forward to incorporating those into our everyday activities, especially as we struggle more and more with math! This section includes resources to help with certain subjects, tips on working with students with special needs, and even career guides for teens. There’s even a section just for parents!
Currently, our main focus at this time is on electives because I wanted to add some courses to our daily schedule that would enhance our homeschool. We took a look at some of the art courses and the music theory, but the elective that my kids were really interested in was drama. My kids are natural attention-seekers, and they loved to be on stage. The drama course is wonderful as it gives a few different options and lesson plans to fit your focus.
“In the Limelight” has extensive lessons on some popular plays, providing an opportunity for students to learn about plays through interactive experiences. Take, for instance, the play The Wind in the Willows. The lesson plans help students think “Outside the Box” by using LEGOs to create their own characters. Students are also taught new vocabulary and given the opportunity to create their own scripts. And the wonderful part for the teacher is that the lessons are already completely laid out for you! As someone who is lacking in creativity, I love to have everything planned out in an easy-to-follow format.
Simply Shakespeare is another part of the drama course. This series of lessons focuses on Shakespeare’s most famous works and offers a wide variety of subjects within each lesson. For instance, students are encouraged to find some of the places mentioned in his plays, thus fulfilling geography for the day. They enhance their vocabulary through the study of his works. And they are given the opportunity to perform the plays as well.
But our favorite course is the Reader’s Theater. My children need to work on their reading out loud skills, and this was the perfect way for them to practice. I really enjoyed the fact that there were opportunities for as few as 2 readers all the way up to 7 readers. It was a great opportunity for them to learn proper enunciation and posture and how to slow down when they’re talking. This was especially key for my student who is currently in speech therapy.
I do strive to keep technology to a minimum in our homeschool, simply because my children have a hard time staying on task, and one of them struggles with addiction to technology. But I also believe that our kids have to be exposed to some technology in today’s fast-paced world. One of the things I really like about SchoolhouseTeachers.com is that there are opportunities to either form a curriculum online or printables to keep students off the computer. The choice is yours.
We have had a lot of rain and cold in our area lately, so it was great to be able to provide some videos for my kids that enhanced their education. The site provides clean videos from RightNow Media at no additional cost for all ages, including some resources for parents. My kids chose the video on the apostle Paul, who is my oldest’s favorite missionary. It was great to find something that I was comfortable with them watching and that they all could agree on! It was very quiet in our house that afternoon!
My overall opinion is that this website is a valuable resource for any homeschool. The site provides a complete curriculum for any parent struggling to piece together a curriculum on their own. Or the flexibility of the site allows you to just choose certain subjects to add to the curriculum that you have been using. The homeschool planners are also a valuable tool, and I appreciated how quickly parent support was given when I was initially trying to navigate around the website.
Homeschool curriculum can get quite expensive, but the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership is actually very affordable. And now is the best time to buy! An annual membership to access the entire website is just $99/year, down from the usual price of $224.97. You also have the option of paying it all at once, quarterly, or monthly. It’s just $12/month or $49.97/quarterly.
While I don’t think all of the courses were right for my kids, I really appreciate the fact that there were so many other options to choose from that my family was able to find courses that fit our needs.
To read other reviews about this great homeschool resource from SchoolhouseTeachers.com, visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog.