Tuesday, January 5, 2016

SchoolhouseTeachers.Com review

       I was very excited when I first found out I would be doing a review of the  Yearly Membership access at  This is the curriculum website for The Old School House Magazine.  This site is a comprehensive Christian Education site that offers classes, online resources, video streaming, supplementary tools, bible studies and more, for families!  For the price of a Yearly Membership  you get all subjects, for all grades, for all your kids!  HELLO!   We are talking math, language arts, bible, science, electives, etc, etc!
     I've been pouring over this site for a while now and getting the lay of the land.  Let me fill you in about and then near the end of the post, I'll give you my opinion.
  This online homeschool program has classes in practically every subject matter from Pre-K through Highschool; over 200 different classes!!! These include:

     THAT'S RIGHT!!! Core classes like LA, Math, Science, History AND Electives, Art, Foreign Languages, Health, etc!!!   The classes use an array of formats such as online reading, downloads, videos, lectures, ect.  None of it is "live" so you can do school whenever it works for you.  There are NO ADDITIONAL TEXTBOOKS needed to be purchased to complete any class.  
     The classes are written by actual teachers and educators and fully accessible online.  THESE ARE FULL COURSES... like REAL SCHOOL.  Many classes are in-depth and can be used for high school credit and they have info on transcripts for that as well.
     There are so many resources for YOU too!  Members get to download, for free, planners, checklists, skills learned lists and have access to teaching helps.
     Plus! (There's more?  YES!) Your yearly membership  comes with a free membership to RIGHT NOW MEDIA.  Where they have a MASSIVE collection of Christian media!  Everything from bible studies, kids shows, and conferences, to parenting videos, biblical finances and, of course,  homeschool things ;)  

To begin as a New/Interested Member:
     Go to the NEW MEMBERS HUB and read up.  Next go to COURSES BY GRADE or COURSES BY SUBJECT to educate yourself on the classes offered.  After that, the easiest way to get to your classes is to click on QUICK LINKS and scroll down until you see the classes you want- lets say you picked "elementary art", after you locate the title click on the "go to lessons" or "read more", whichever you want.  If you click the "lessons" then you are ready to go!  Of course if you are not a member you can not access all the educational goodness but you can still pursue things as you consider your membership.

But What does it Cost? 
     It's actually very affordable.  A Yearly membership is only $139.  That's for all your curriculum, including electives, for all your children, for one year!  This is MADE EVEN MORE affordable by the 50% deal they have right now!  So from now until 1/31/16 your 1 year membership is only $69.50!
     Again, this is for ALL YOUR CURRICULUM!!!  You really can not get a better price for purchasing curriculum for everyone in your family than this!

 OKAY!  Now that you know what the Yearly Membership is all about, let's talk about it!

     I was super impressed with the wide selection of classes and (because I hate paper) it was wonderful that things were online and/or downloadable.  I saw that they have a PINTEREST BOARD  which gave me a 2 hour quick look with visuals of some of their classes and educational opportunities.  I liked that I was able to read up on the teachers who put the curriculum together (they do not actually teach the classes) and that they included the teacher info with each class; I didn't have to search all over for it.
    I liked that I could search for classes by grade or subject.  Everything is well organized and pretty easy to find.  When looking at the classes they give you all the info you need; at quick glance and in depth.  Overviews, syllabus, videos, everything is there so that you can educate yourself on whats available and not have to "fish around" when actually teaching.  If all the options overwhelm you, you can go to their "suggested class outlines".  Here they lay out a complete course load, per grade, that you can follow!  No more guessing if you got it all!

    While this site offers classes for all grade levels, I was especially excited about the possibilities in education that this would open up for my older students as I prepare them for college.  I like moving my kids from "more dependent on me" to "independent from me".  This program looked great for that! Some of the classes we are looking into/considering/currently trying are:

(all teachers bio's listed here)

Snippet of the "Career Exploration Class"
by Carol Topp , listed as a High School Elective.

     To get my girlies started, I looked around for where to "add a student" and assign classes".  I think most of us that use online school programs of any sort are fairly used to that set up.  What I quickly found out is that this is not how this site works.  Dreams. Crushed.  Sigh....
     I was hoping I could give my older kids an account and assign their classes and let them work independently.  So finding out that I could not was a bit of a let down.  What I ended up doing was making my password "kid friendly" and have had my two oldest girls doing things by signing in as me.  Not my ideal set up but it's working.

     The site, and its classes, function more like an interactive textbook.  Classes are viewed online and/or are downloadable, some might include videos you watch online or sites you link up to.  Assignments are written out, worksheets can be downloaded and printed, videos are linked up so you can "click and watch", everything is right there; very "open and go" for each subject.  I believe the thought is that the parents will open up each class and teach; just like you open up a textbook and teach.  My thing is that I don't teach that way.

     All my curriculum is either completely independent from me or classes are done as a "one room school house".  I pick curriculum accordingly; based upon the way that I DO school.  I choose curriculum that is "open and go" and that can be used across a multitude of levels, and normally not on the computer (except math and things like research and videos).

     Now, in trying to make the site fit with the type of schooling that works best for me I would need to have A)separate student accounts and/or B)time and want to figure out which classes could be taught broad spectrum and C) to come up with skill appropriate applications for the kids that are not in the specific grade level to the class being taught.  For these reasons, the site works best for me as a supplement.
5th Grade Daily Grammar
by Julie Coney

    In ALL FAIRNESS, there are a plethora of classes on there that would work with a "one room schoolhouse style", but it is not a clean sweep.  Also, the teaching tools, media files and extra curricular classes are a treasure trove.  I love being able to pull up a video about a missionary traveling through Egypt as we hit that section of our history without having to search google for 30 minutes!

Final thoughts and who would really benefit from this site:
     I really do like the site.  I will definitely use it as a resource and to knock out some classes for my older kids.  There are many short classes (several weeks vs the whole semester/year) that would be fun to do.  I like all the media they have and the variety of classes!  It's a plus for me too, that I have access to classes that I don't really want to dump a lot of money into... like economics.

     I perused a large variety of their classes; things I was interested in and things I was not.  I wanted to really get a handle on what was available.  I was very happy with the quality of of the classes overall but I did think they fell short in a few areas.  For instance, one of my daughters is an excellent self taught artist.  So the world of "at home art classes" is a familiar one for me.  The art classes I poured over from were good in content.  They had wonderful tie ins to famous artist, good instruction and fun activities.  Most of them though had no videos for art instruction and this is an area that would have greatly benefited if they had included that.

Line Drawing Lesson from Elementary Art Techniques Class
by Brenda Ellis
     I had F16g take an indepth look at the art lessons in Art Techniques, by Brenda Ellis, a class listed for upper elementary-highschool level students.  This is a level of art that is far below her; she knows how to do everything listed.  I figured she would have a good perspective.  She loved that the class teaches many different art mediums and that they build on each other; which is important when learning technique.  She felt that it needed more instruction for a beginning artist but the instruction was good for anyone with some basic know how.  Overall, if the classes had included warm up exercises and video teaching, that the skill and technique would have come across better.

F16g working through 2 projects in the "Drawing with
Realism" art class with Jan Bower

   F16g has also been doing the Drawing with Realism, by Jan Bower class.  This course IS a video based art class that focuses on teaching realism in drawing. She did the 4 week apple project and the 4 week  marble project.
     She really enjoyed it!  The teacher, Jan Bower, had a very simplistic teaching style that was very encouraging and easy to follow.  She felt that even beginning artist could do these projects easily as most of the drawing is just outline sketching with the technique being how to apply the color pencils in layers to create the depth, feel and look of the object.  F16g said she could tell the teacher was an experienced artist and appreciated the easy way in which she spoke and her clear instructions.
     For experienced artists, it would be easy to go through each lesson quicker than the
F16g's Apple Drawing

assigned schedule.   However the lesson of "how to draw realistically" can be applied over and over again to a never ending supply of inspiration.  So even if your student went through them quickly, they could continue to do more drawings, practice with larger scale pictures, etc to further their skills and prolong the class. End result:  she really loved the class and what she learned!  She was delighted with the quality of the lessons, and was glad there were videos!

      OKAY!  Back to me!  So along with wanting more video for the rest of art, I had a similar feeling with the math- quality was good BUT I would not choose their program over an online program that had video instructions and automatic grading.  On that note... Several of my kids would have felt overwhelmed by the very "textbook feel" to the math on this site and would have needed me to read things for them and probably google a video. However, most of my kids are primary visual learners.   
     Overall, I thought there would be more video instruction, more links to online resources, more interactive references and learning tools.  I was left feeling like a lot of it was... well... kind of bland.  I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing.  Some people are happier in that space and need all the flourishes and flares taken out in order to get to basics and get it done.  It's more of a preference I guess.  And really, it wasn't that big of a deal.  {thinking....thinking...thinking}  For reals, I do not think a class like... economics, needs to be colorful. I want it simple and easy for my highschooler- know what I mean?    So, I  suppose, the classes that needed to be more straight forward were just that and still interesting but I did think some areas could have included more, like art videos, to help better teach the class and concepts.

    With that said, I still like the site and I am still excited about it!  I believe that everyone can benefit from using the  If you only used one or two classes, you would already be at the cost of one big subject curriculum purchase.  Being able to "one hit wonder" so many things through this site really gives every homeschool family an advantage. It also gives flexibility without the pressure of "loosing money".  Say your child wanted to try out "architecture" but it wasn't going well, you could just switch gears, dump it, and pick something else, like "photography".  Everyone is happy and no money is lost!
     While the site, in its entirety, is not something I will use beyond a supplemental tool.  I do think its a great resource and that there are some families that would find more advantages and benefits in it. They are:
  • Those on a tight budget:  For such a low price, this really is an awesome way to supply quality schooling for all your kids without breaking the budget.
  • Small Spacers and Travelers:  If you are a traveling family, or are schooling in a small or limited space this would be great for you!  No extra curric. to tote around!
  • Those overwhelmed by upper level school:  Having doubts about how to do highschool?  This is a great place to be!  All your curriculum in one spot, things are laid out so well, many classes are accredited and there are so many "helps" for you that you can navigate this time with ease!
  • Families that need more guidance/checklist: They have a suggested class list, by grade level that you can use to make sure you have everything covered.  You can find that here!
  • New/overwhelmed Homeschooling Families:  Sometimes it's just hard to know where to start.  this is a GREAT SPRING BOARD for new families as they learn to navigate the homeschool world and a wonderful resting place for those who are overwhelmed by the homeschool world and need to streamline things.
  • Families that need to simplify:  It's pretty easy to collect everything under the homeschool sun and to be swallowed up by books and assignments.  This is a great tool to use to simplify your homeschool life!
     That concludes my review of  I hope you enjoyed my honest review and hope you go on over, check it out and see if it will work for you! Review 2016
Crew Disclaimer


  1. Welcome to the Crew! Lovely apple. :)

  2. thank you! And F16 say Thank you as well- she drew the apple =)

  3. Very good points you wrote here..Great stuff...I think you've made some truly interesting points.Keep up the good work.

  4. Detailed review. I'm convinced. Thanks!

  5. Detailed review. I'm convinced. Thanks!

  6. Can you sign in on 2 computers at once so both my kids can do different activities?

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