We recently got the chance to read three books by Kayla Jarmon. Her bio is enough to entice other families to pick up her books. In her website, she describes herself as author, mother, and friend. Here is our review if you would like to see.
On A Boy and His Dog
Boy-dog stories are pretty common in children’s literature. But even though it has been done many times before, the friendship between a lad and his furry pal can still tug at the heartstrings. This book is no different.
This book explores the sweet relationship of a boy and his dog. A boy and his dog are friends for life, the book boldly proclaims. They sleep beside each other and play together. All those mundane things that anyone who has ever had a dog can relate to.
The illustrations are nothing elaborate and the color palette has a simplicity to it that makes it seem like a child chose the scheme. It feels like these were done intentionally to emphasize the innocence of the story.
On Dying is Part of This World
To be honest, I glossed over this book with my kids. As a newly minted five-year old and three-year old, I don’t think they’re ready to have a full discussion of death. Especially since their only brush with it is the death of a fish late last year. The time will come, I know, when they will know the full magnitude of it. When that happens, I will have this book to help me explain it to them.
In the meantime, I use some parts of the book to reference that death is a part of our world, but we look forward to a time when Jesus will render it useless. Dying is a Part of This World also takes a more hopeful view of loss and grief. It contains scripture references and great question to help answer the fear of death.
On Don’t Forget Me
My kids liked A Boy and His Dog the most. For me, however, the clear winner in this set was Don’t Forget Me. It is about a baby talking to God while inside the mommy’s tummy until birth. Mothers will definitely feel a pinch in their hearts over the sweet dialogue.
It also offers more than just making your eyes tear up. Don’t Forget Me has scripture readings and discussion guides on the theme of new life. Without giving away the whole book, it offers a heartfelt theme: God is the author of life, from start to finish.
There are so many books, especially electronic ones like these, that are available in the market. It can be difficult to go through the choices. But, in reading these, I found a common thread in them that makes me confident in recommending them to others. These books are earnest and sincere, making them perfect reads for families.
You can find Kayla Jarmon on the following social media links:
Something magical happened in the past couple of months in our home. H is now reading full, complicated sentences. While she’s been reading since she was four, her skills were a bit jerky and definitely still in the preschool stages. But recently, it’s like the floodgates opened. This reading explosion, I should mention, coincided with our use of Reading Kingdom, an online program designed for kids in the K-3 levels. Its goal is to help create successful readers who can go beyond phonics or sounding out letters when they read.
On Reading Kingdom
Consider these: heat, hearth, caveat. They all look alike on paper, but they are pronounced differently. According to the Reading Kingdom website, fewer than 1 in 5 words can be sounded out.
Reading Kingdom solves this situation by not solely relying on phonetics. Instead, it makes use of a six-prong method. In Dr. Marion Blank’s patented method, she uses sequencing, writing, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension.
In Reading Kingdom, each of these levels is taught through several lessons. The recommended frequency is to use the program four to five times each week, completing one to two sessions in each sitting.
On How We Used Reading Kingdom
We were at the tail end of our school year when we started to use Reading Kingdom. We mainly used it as practice after our regular lessons. Once summer started, I made H sit down and do a round or two to keep her from getting rusty. Admittedly, we were not able to comply with the recommended frequency, because we’ve gone on a few long trips as a family.
We did an assessment at the beginning of the program, which allows Reading Kingdom to determine the level your child will be in. Since H was a preschooler, we were placed on the lowest one.
Each session has a series of questions that often involves repetition of the word. The words are presented in different ways, such as spotting it in a sentence or typing out the missing letters. The next lesson then builds up on what the child has previously learned.
Notably, Reading Kingdom reminds you after each session that it works best when you only do two at the maximum to get the most benefits.
On Our Impressions
One thing that I liked about Reading Kingdom is that it did not use the typical words associated with young learners. We did not have to read “dog” or “mat” even at the earliest stages. Reading Kingdom also took steps to put the words in context. There would be questions that asked the child to pick the picture that corresponds with the word. I observed that comprehension and usage of words is given weight, even in the beginning.
Reading Kingdom is an online interactive program that requires the use of a physical keyboard. H has had a chance to use the keyboard, thanks to a previous product we reviewed. It was an advantage for her because she was a little familiar with the letter placements. For kids who are not used to the keyboard, Reading Kingdom does offer prompts to help them locate the letters.
H enjoyed the program because of its cute graphics and friendly-sounding narration. However, I had to coax her into sitting through the lessons because most of the questions were repetitive. From an educator’s standpoint, repetition makes sense because it ensures mastery. From the perspective of a then-five-year old, it was just another reason to be antsy.
H is now faster and better at reading. Do I credit Reading Kingdom for this? Not solely, of course. Nothing beats mom sitting down with her, teaching her how to read and helping her choose a book. But, it is a great supplement and practice tool. Reading Kingdom is engaging and you can really see the methodology in the way they build up a child’s reading skills. It is also a great way to introduce the use of technology, like how to use the mouse and the keyboard, to young kids.
To find out more about Reading Kingdom, visit their website or connect with them through social media:
The company also offers ASD Reading, which is a patented, research-based reading program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Read more reviews on Reading Kingdom and ASD Reading by clicking the image below.
We got the chance to review some books from Weigl Publishers, which were published in digital format. Here is our review, if you would like to see:
About the Books
The company has a roster of of interactive books — I believe, the titles clock in at 1800, which is practically a whole library. They are made to engage the child to help learn various subjects like math, history, and animals.
The books work when you enter a code, which once you do, allows you access without expiration. You can use the links that pop up which lead you to additional materials like puzzles and maps.
On the Experience
I have to admit that it took me a while to get on board using screens when it comes to schooling. While screentime is not exactly banned in our home, I do try to keep them in the “privilege” category. But, it is exactly materials like these books that help me relax when it comes to using screens as a way to learn.
A Lion’s World is an easy read. It is a short, zippy, and uses words appropriate for young learners. It is complemented by videos as well as narration, when you code in at EyeDiscover.com, which really brings the story to life.
Glaciers is a bit longer at 15 pages in PDF format. The best part about this book is that it follows the curiosity of the child by providing links to other facts about glaciers. There are other activities like videos and worksheets.
Who doesn’t love a silly story? There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant was a delight to experience because it came with sound effects that my kids loved. Writing-wise, it has the style that most children’s books follow. It is a bit sing-songy and of course, had a zany plot. It’s a winning formula.
On Our Thoughts
The disadvantages that I attributed to these kinds of books (distracting, too stimulating, and other screentime-associated fears) turned out to be unfounded. All it took for me to remove that bias is to actually try and use these books. These are lovingly written, with beautiful and well-made illustrations and pictures. The narration took a bit of getting used to at first, but they were a pleasant addition to the experience. (You can also turn them off, if you want.)
It turned out that they were a great way to keep the kids engaged and learning. The kids liked the multi-sensory approach in that they can see and listen at things at the same time. Parents, like myself, are assured that they’re not being fed junk. The books that we got to read are smart and are excellent takeoff points to more learning activities.
HelpTeaching.com is a wonderful resource site chock full of lessons, practice sheets, and other things you might need for homeschooling your little one — or not so little one — since they have materials from preK-12. I had the chance to review Help Teaching Pro and here are my thoughts if you would like to see.
Do I need This?
At the start of our homeschooling journey, a little less than a year ago, I was so diligent in making everything from scratch. I was writing original compositions to help H with reading, making our own worksheets, and doing little math makey-do projects. But that phase lasted a few weeks since (a) I realized how time-consuming it was and (b) there are so many helpful resources online I can take advantage of.
Help Teaching Pro is like a cupcake that you don’t actually need, but will definitely want once you get a taste for it. It is such a great assistance for busy homeschoolers since it takes a large chunk of prep time and does the job for you.
A key feature of the site for me is the Test Maker, which allows you to generate your own exams, which in our case, we used as practice sheets. You can easily search for the questions you like by filtering questions from their bank by topic and grade. Just mark the questions that pique your interest and the site will the create them into a test for you. You can edit the test later on, by adding other questions or reshuffling the questions you already have.
You can print save this exam in your content tab for future reference and also print it. One of my favorite details about the site is that it provides an answer key, which is really convenient. As the parent of a kindergartner, I should be ashamed of myself if I find the questions made for her tricky, so this is not an immediate gratification thing for me. I can just imagine in the future, when we’re doing calculus and other higher level content, that this would be a welcome and often-used feature.
Using the Site
HelpTeaching.com tackles the major subjects of English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. It also provides content for pre-school all the way up to the 12th grade. To find the items you want, the site divides its information by level and subject matter. All you have to do is click on the link you want.
Since the site is basically click-and-go, you can use it intuitively. The advantage of this site is that is not cumbersome to use at all. It is literally as easy as one, two, three since I counted three steps before we got to use a worksheet. First, go to the site; second, click on the questions you want; third, print it out. See? Like do-re-mi. That was a Jackson Five reference, by the way, in case you youngsters were wondering.
The blog is a good read and there’s something heartwarming about a site that invests in more than just the maths and reading aspects. The more cynical side of my personality wants to say, “c’mon, it’s just a blog” — which in many ways is true, because you’re definitely not going to outsource topics like kindness and social responsibility to a website — but, the site definitely earns some points by taking the time to do this. It gives a resource site, usually a very business-y visit, a more personal touch.
I really liked Help Teaching Pro and found it to be a good supplementary tool to our homeschooling lessons. It’s certainly not going to replace the good old method of parents preparing for the subject at least the day before. But, it does provide a solid means of cutting down the grunt work, so that parents can focus better.
The things that I thought could have used improvement are really small. For example, I thought that the graphics that came with the lessons and test questions looked a little dated and clipart-y. The fonts were also a little too small for me. But these are minor quibbles and does not take away from the usefulness of the site.
I am thankful that I got the chance to use Help Teaching Pro would recommend it to other parents who are looking for a reliable site to assist them in educating their children.
To learn more about HelpTeaching.com, visit their site or the following social media links:
The If You Were Me and Lived in… series is a collection of books by Carole P. Roman that introduces the different cultures from around the world to its readers. She is an established author who has written an large collection of books. It is aimed for the younger set, from 4-9, but it is definitely not limited to that age group.
To say that these books piqued my interest is a bit of an understatement. I may or may not have whooped out loud when I received them in the mail. I will neither confirm or deny. But suffice to say that I have a very keen interest in these books.
I am the worst traveler in the world. I am severely scared of plane rides and I have vowed to never step onto a ship. When I’m in a different country, I stay close to the hotel and basically rely on my companions to do the adventuring and just kind of tag along. I’m terrible. But, I am determined not to pass my travel anxiety to my kids. This is why geography plays a big role in our daily lessons.
On South Korea
The first book we read was If You Were Me and Lived In… South Korea. H was particularly interested in this one, because she feels a strong connection to South Korea because of the food. She loves Korean food. While kids generally drag their parents to McDonald’s or some other fast food joint, H will do cartwheels just to eat at her favorite Korean restaurant.
H zeroed in on the details given by the book about family life in South Korea. She was amused that their word for mom (omma) and dad (appa), which are very similar to the more familiar mama and papa. It kicked off a great conversation on how people can have a lot of things in common, even if they are different from each other.
To reinforce what we read in the book, we tried to play ddakji, which is a traditional Korean game using folded pieces of paper. It is similar to the game pogs, although H enjoyed the paper folding experience more than the actual game.
The second book we read was If You Were Me and Lived In… India. When I had the chance to choose which books to review from the collection, I picked India because I thought it would be a fun lesson to conduct. India has such colorful traditions and is so steeped in history that it would be hard to distill everything to make it palatable for a five-year old and a three-year old.
I was ready to talk about the Taj Mahal and Holi and was very excited to show the kids pictures I pulled from the internet (“Gooble”, as H says.) The book talked about cricket, the sport, and how popular it is in India. When the kids heard the word “cricket”, they immediately associated it with the insect. We ended up using the book as a takeoff point to talk about the animals in India. I’m always so amused at how lessons can take such unexpected turns.
If You Were Me and Lived In… China rounded out lessons with these books. Coincidentally, I was just cleaning out some drawers and found some mementos from earlier travels. I found a few coins and some refrigerator magnets that made for great visual aids when we read the book.
The book on China was unique because it featured an actual picture of the Great Wall of China in addition to the usual illustrations. The kids were very curious about the wall so we spent some time learning more about it together.
I went to China when I was younger and even got to see one of the terracotta soldiers the book talked about. I told them it was a lot bigger than I expected. The kids were more invested in my story than they usually were. I suppose it’s because they had just read about it in a book, so it made it more magical.
On the Series
The books follow a general formula. It first introduces the physical aspect of the country, showing the shape of the country and its position on the earth. It shows a glimpse of everyday life, like the common names of people and what they eat. The books also mention famous landmarks, like the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal.
I like that the books include proper pronunciations of the words written in the local language of the country being discussed. It’s such a small detail, but I thought it was very respectful of the culture and also very considerate for the one reading.
It was also nice that the book discussed these countries in the modern setting, since most books I’ve encountered usually dwell too long on the history of the country. While the past is interesting, it’s also important for books to make the point that these countries have developed and modernized as well.
These books are a great addition to any library and I would definitely be looking into getting some more. They are quick reads but packed with sharp details that make each country come alive for kids.
I went to school at a Catholic school that required us to learn a particular kind of penmanship. It’s so distinct that alumna of the school can spot each other just from our handwriting alone. Cursive was so important in my education — the teachers would not check your papers if you didn’t use the required handwriting — that I am floored to learn that some schools don’t even bother teaching penmanship anymore.
Fortunately, this kind of snub is not absolute. I was recently given the chance to view the CursiveLogic Online Seminar on how to teach cursive. My kids are lucky, because my idea of penmanship class is to have nuns hovering over me, barking out, “pointier, pointier!”
This video by CursiveLogic is presented by Linda Shrewbury and goes through practical methods on how to teach penmanship to students. The video is a complement to the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack, which contains a 112-page workbook divided into 10 lessons. The company also offers the Art of Cursive, a book for older students who want to learn, or improve, their cursive handwriting.
After watching the video, a big takeaway for me is that certain letters have similar ways of being written out. Using the CursiveLogic method, the letters are grouped by shape and connected by letter strings.
For example, the letters A, C, and D have similar oval shapes. Teaching these letters as a group makes it easier for the child to grasp. It’s simple and logical and a complete eye-opening experience for me.
My kids are very young so we’re at the early stages of writing. H is working on improving accuracy and neatness while R is working on his grip. When teaching them, I’ve always introduced the letters sequentially following the alphabet. Now, I realize that there’s really no need to do it that way. It makes more sense to introduce by similar shape, even when working on print letters. Thanks to this video, I’ve restructured our lessons to make use of these logical groupings. Also, “over, back-trace” has become a staple chant around the house.
Another benefit to using this grouping system is that the kids are able to practice the same movement even when working on different letters. For instance, when they write “C”, they are following the same shape as “A”. They are using the same strokes and patterns. It works to reinforce knowledge. When they get better at writing one letter, they get better at both!
Another technique used by CursiveLogic is the use of multi-sensory tools like color, verbal, and movement to emphasize the lessons. For example, the video uses “over, back-trace” as a chant to help kids remember what to do. This is particularly helpful for younger children, who might find the repetitiveness of handwriting practice a chore.
I mainly use the Montessori method when teaching the kids. Interestingly, cursive letters are introduced first in Montessori. The reasoning behind this is that kids tend to scribble first. It’s more natural for them to use connected letters that use the spacing needed in print letters.
Using the techniques taught by CursiveLogic reinforces this idea that learning how to write should cater to how the mind processes things naturally. In many ways, CursiveLogic lives out the expectations set up by its name. It truly is logical. This smart, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that approach makes teaching penmanship much, much easier.
You can connect with CursiveLogic’s Facebook page here. In addition, if you are interested in trying out this method, CursiveLogic is offering a 20% discount on the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack this month. It features access to the webinar and one workbook. Please use the code CREW2018 upon checkout.
Since I am a writer, I am pretty fast at typing. But, I confess, I actually don’t type properly. My fingers are all over the place. When there was a chance to review UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning, I was pretty pleased. Not for myself — I’m a dinosaur and set in my ways. I wanted H to be exposed to using the keyboard properly.
A few caveats before anything: first, H is only five. We used this program with the idea of exposure rather than mastery. Second, H is only five. We are still learning how to spell so typing is a definite challenge for her. Third, she’s only five.
On UltraKey Bytes of Learning
The program is a comprehensive lesson on using the keyboard properly. It covers the basics such as posture and finger positions to mastery exercises. There are 12 lessons in the program and primarily uses video to teach. The recommended starting age is eight, although it can be used by younger children, as in our case.
Bytes of Learning lets you set up an account with several users, making it available for different family members. Each user can customize the settings, such as being able to use the backspace function or how to move from one lesson to another.
On Our Positive Impressions
One of the best things that I liked about Bytes of Learning is that it is self-paced. This makes it more flexible, allowing my daughter to use it even though she’s about three years off the recommended age. That was really impressive to me — what I thought would be a disadvantage for her turned out to be a non-issue.
H was able to enjoy the program, even though she was not the intended audience. She was able to sit through and learn from the videos. The most specific example is the one of the first ones, which is the video on posture. H diligently followed, because the instructions were clear and concise. The graphics complemented the audio and that allowed her to see what she should do.
Another thing that I liked from Bytes of Learning is that the challenges has a logical progression. You first had to learn individual letters and then words, and then sentences. H was able to use the proper keystrokes for the letters and some words. Sentences were, not surprisingly too advanced for her. But gosh, I was so proud to see her even try.
There was another benefit to using Bytes of Learning that I didn’t anticipate. A lot of the activities or games had H copying words she saw on the screen. Since she was sounding it out as she was copying, H’s spelling and reading skills were practiced as well.
On The Graphics
The graphics has a throwback feel to it. The colors shun the minimalist, subdued shades favored by recent trends. The smiling computer character also reminds me so much of Clippy, the helpful paper clip from the early version of Microsoft Word. By nature, I resist change to I was very much charmed by it.
But, aesthetics are only secondary to how effective the interface is. When it comes to that, I’m going to again emphasize that my daughter is — pop quiz! how old? — and she was able to navigate the program easily. The icons are front and center and easily identifiable. So easy that even a — one more time for the people in the back — five year old can handle it.
We did experience a few issues the first time we tried the product. The audio kept on repeating itself in some sections. We had to reload the page each time that happened to continue using the program. However, that only happened on one day so it could either have been problems with our internet (We’re from the Philippines. Ranked as having one of the slowest internet in Asia. Yay, us.) or a temporary glitch. It was a one-day thing so it’s hardly worth mentioning.
I would say that Bytes of Learning is a welcome addition to a family’s must-try educational sites. Even kids younger than the recommended age can benefit from it. Knowing how to use the keyboard properly is considered a basic skill, since almost everything is done using computers. Bytes of Learning is a straightforward, no-fuss way to develop or improve this skill.
Our family spent about two years living in Cebu because of my husband’s work. Although it’s been about four years since we moved back to Luzon, Cebu will always be close to our hearts.
We jump at the chance to visit whenever we can. Even H, who was barely three when we left, gets giddy with excitement. Cebu is still home to her.
Fortunately, we were able to make the trip recently. We stayed at Summit Hotel, a relatively new location for this established hotel chain. The hotel itself wasn’t anything special and it featured a disturbing trend — doorless bathrooms! Why? Although the shower and toilet stalls had cubicle doors, I would still rather have a real one than I can close behind me.
But, whatever weird taste the room design left in my mouth was negated by the fact that Summit was right beside PlayLab, Touted as the first digital playground in the Philippines, it features 14 exhibits where children can use technology in interactive and creative ways.
The first thing you see when you enter is this giant screen with lights. The lights react to your movements. This must have entertained the kids for a whole hour.
In this activity, you transform into different animals. I think the animals are based off the animals in the Chinese calendar. H was obviously ticked at the thought of being an ox.
R is trying to target the trash with a ball. The trash is supposed to explode in a cloud of bubbles, but he wasn’t strong enough to throw it with enough force. He tried to remedy that to no avail. His frustration was palpable.
A lot of the exhibits had the same concept. Design something and then watch it on a screen. Here, we designed butterflies. They also had one where you can build tangram rockets and launch it into space. In another exhibit, you can scan pictures of animals you color and they run around a forest.
The was R scrambles to try to catch up with his sister cracks me up.
The kids obviously had a grand time. They liked it so much that we returned the following day. Although since that was a Saturday the place was packed. We didn’t get to enjoy the exhibits as much. Friendly advice: if you’re going to go, better go on a weekday when the crowds are more manageable.
PlayLab Cebu is open daily from 10am to 9pm at The Greens, Level 1, Robinsons Galleria Cebu. Entrance fees are P200 per person for two hours during weekdays and P250 per person for two hours on weekends.
It’s always so hard to get back into the swing of things right after the holidays. Maybe it’s the overconsumption of Christmas cookies. Maybe it’s because I would rather revel in the Christmas cheer than go back to the daily grind.
Fortunately, I had something else to look forward to, so I didn’t feel too bad about the holidays ending. This week, I tried out what it is like to have a Yearly Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com which is the curriculum site of the The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Here is my review, if you would like to see.
This site is a treasure trove for homeschoolers – it has over 350 course options over extensive subject matters. It has lessons on the major areas like math, science, and language arts as well as electives and other subjects like foreign languages.
The site also offers a video library, which offers videos to be streamed from Creation.com, Vision Video, RightNow Media, and many more. It provides access to World Book. This is a network library of resource eBooks that is categorized by library, grade, and subject.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com provides materials from pre-school to high school students. It also provides support to parents by providing training videos, resources, and scheduling tools.
The Just for Parents section is also noteworthy because it is a good reminder that homeschooling is supposed to be a family endeavor. The information is not limited to homeschooling-specific topics, but rather also has wisdom to offer on family relationships. The courses are as varied as “Finally Conquer Fractions” to “Making Marriage Last”.
On Our First Impressions
I am homeschooling a five-year old and to some extent a two-year old (he’s too young for formal lessons, but I keep him engaged as much as possible) so our focus is primarily on the subjects available in the Pre-K and K and the 1st grade categories.
The first thing I noticed about the site is how organized it is. You can browse by grade or by subject. You can also look at the Quick Links to see a snapshot of what the site has to offer.
This ease of navigation comes in handy because of the sheer volume of information the site has. I think it is the thing that stands between, “how thorough!” and “this is too much!” as a first impression. There are a lot of lessons crammed in here so having a roadmap that works ensures you don’t miss out on anything.
On the Games
We’re at the tail end of the school year and already prepping for our final portfolio review, so I skipped past the main lessons. But, I did zero in on the activities that can supplement the lessons that we are already doing.
For us, one of the best features of the site is the Everyday Games. Made by Teresa Evans, a veteran teacher from Australia, these games were designed for children to learn. We used the math games and it helped without being too in your face about it. I guess you can liken in to adding grated carrots to your kid’s mac and cheese. It’s good for them without them realizing it.
You can choose a game depending on your goal. For example, we used the math games in our lessons. There were games for skip counting, telling time, addition. Simply go to the section you want and print it out. The instructions suggest laminating the printouts so it can be used again. It’s a thoughtful little suggestion.
According to Teresa, her educational motto is “keep it simple.” This shows in the way the games are constructed, which has instructions easy enough for kids to follow. The games we have used so far are done in the style of board games. Although the games require two or more players, they can be easily modified for a single player. In our case, I had H play against the clock. If she finishes answering before the timer runs out, she wins.
On the Bible Lessons
Another topic that we got to explore were the Bible lessons. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that the choices aren’t just for the topics, but also the method of teaching. You can have the kids watch videos (it licensed Bedbug Bible Gang until July 2019) or print out a story and an accompanying worksheet.
Leading up to Christmas, I used the Birth of the King printables as an activity. I downloaded the teacher pack and was pleasantly surprised at how comprehensive it was. The pack contained the story from the Bible, activity sheets which included coloring pages, a maze, and a word hunt game. Interestingly, this section comes in different languages, including Tagalog, our local language. This really surprised me, since it is not a common language. I will surely revisit this section not just for the Bible lessons, but also for her Tagalog.
One little thing though: I thought I encountered what I thought was a dead link for the lessons under Adventures of Carlos Caterpillar. It turns out that licensing restrictions limit it to members in North America. It’s something to note for those outside the continent. But still, there are so many other lessons available I feel like it didn’t affect my options.
On What I Think
I may have already used the word “comprehensive” in this review, but there is no other word I can think of that can effectively summarize the SchoolhouseTeachers.com experience. Let me use it again. It is comprehensive. Very, very comprehensive.
You can easily plan your whole school year around the site. It makes it a practical choice. Yearly membership provides all the members of the family access to all the online classes available, including videos and references. It eliminates having to pay different subscription fees, which to me, makes it more cost-effective.
Access to the different levels is also very convenient. It’s not just that most homeschooling families usually have children enrolled at different levels, but also that each child usually develops differently in various areas.
For instance, H is more proficient at math, which allows us to teach her more advanced concepts than the ones required in kindergarten. But, her writing skills still need more work, so the Beginning Handwriting in Pre-K and Kindergarten activities are more appropriate for her.
Being able to choose lessons appropriate for different levels from one site made it easier and more expedient. I don’t need to hop from one site to another, searching for the appropriate activities and worksheets to get.
I highly recommend SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Getting the yearly membership is definitely worth the price. The activities are reliable and engaging. The content is also notably well-researched and presented in a clear, concise manner.
But I think in our experience, I especially see its value to new homeschooling families such as ours. One of the challenges I experienced with homeschooling is the amount of work it takes to plan a day.
I had to sort through the available materials, distill the data I found into understandable chunks, and think of how to present it in a fun and informative way. It’s a lot of work and can be quite overwhelming at times.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com basically holds your hand through this process because of the pick-and-choose, step-by-step way it presents the information. To me, this is priceless because it allows me to concentrate more on interacting with my children rather that spending most of my energy in the preparation. i just wish I had this site sooner!