Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Comprehensive All Ages, Many Subjects Resource ( Review)

Have you heard about, a division of The Old Schoolhouse, whose print (and, more recently, online) magazine has been well-lauded among homeschoolers since 2001?

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To be honest, until I was given the chance to take advantage of the SchoolhouseTeachers  Yearly Membership Option in exchange for an honest review, I had not heard much beyond the site’s name myself.  Now, I cannot wait to keep digging into this comprehensive online learning resource, as well as to share about it here so you can check it out, too.

What is

Basically, it is a comprehensive collection of resources to direct or complement any family’s home education efforts. 

Included in membership are:

  • articles, demo videos, e-books, handouts, lesson plans, printable games, worksheets and more to encourage and inspire parents, as well as to give them concrete tools that can make teaching children at home easier and more efficient.

  • regular updates of new daily, weekly and monthly material, as well as a staggering collection of archived lessons.

The resources on the site could easily be used as a stand-alone core curriculum or as supplementary ones.

Our Experience Thus Far

Because our family has been in the midst of our yearly Advent-centered lessons balanced with some unexpected medical appointments and life hiccups, I admittedly have spent more time browsing the site and using it from a Mama-Teacher perspective than presenting materials provided on it to my children. 

In fact, I was delighted to come upon some useful helps to quell the off-track feeling that I’ve been sensing lately.  Among them were

  • printable checklists appease the Type A-former teacher in me and are now going into a record keeping binder

  • a free membership to Applecore, which is already underway, and, hopefully, may help me keep better records of our home education pursuits.

  • the monthly reading list, which supplemented our usual extensive list of Advent and Christmas reading titles with some new additions.

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  • planners for elementary school and special needs which, I think, will improve the blog planning and record keeping binders I have been using in fits and starts for a couple years.

Plus, of course, there are ALL the awesome lesson plans and printables which have had me happily planning content and skills I want to weave into our curriculum in the coming year.  Included in these are:

  • art techniques, because all our children love art and one of them has already equaled my own limited art expertise. 
  • copybooks to encourage Luke’s handwriting and to feed Nina’s love for copying words and sentences even if she cannot yet read them with ease.
  • dailies in grammar, spelling and more, for when my former structured-schoolteacher-self battles my inner-unschooler, balancing Mom-directed seasons of homeschooling with more relaxed ones.

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  • early sensory activities, because even though I already have a huge repertoire of these up my sleeve, I love experiencing new sensory takes with the kids.
  • geography, because it will tie in nicely to a fair I will be putting together this winter.
  • guitar lessons, because I do not know how to play and the kids want to learn.
  • history figures, because we have a household of history loving folks here.
  • literature kits, because we are huge readers here and love to center learning around real books.
  • nature and outdoor lessons, because we love being outside anyway, but can sometimes use a little extra impetus to make our outdoor time focused learning time as well.
  • Tinkers club, because Luke and Nina LOVE tinkering and I love the experiential learning that takes place when they do.

But, planning is not everything.  Practice is vital, too.  And practice with resources we have done these past few weeks.

Among the resources I shared with our children, our favorite so far was Everyday Games!

Being busy this month, I knew I had hit a useful goldmine for our current family needs when I began clicking through the Everyday Game archives.  Many of the games there centered on exactly the skills my children need to learn and practice.  Plus, they promised engaged, hands-on learning during morning lesson time, after dinner time or, really, anytime!

As such, on some days, the games that I printed provided a staple of our day’s learning, while at other times, they supplemented it.  Every day we used them, I felt grateful for the ease and accessibility of them.  They were truly click, print, gather a few materials that I already had around and play.

And play, play, play and learn we did!  With smiles.  With purpose.  With the kids on their own.  And with me getting some one-to-one with the kids.  Awesome!  

I stored the games in rotation on paper sorter shelves in a cubby in the living room.  With them so readily accessible, we played them often, slipping in phonics and math skills in with fun and together time.

Indeed, Everyday Games was just what our family needed during this season of homeschooling and, undoubtedly, is one resource from that will continue to get regular use in our home.  There are pages and pages of games in the archives.  (Trust me.  I went through ever page of them while deciding which to print first!)

There are also pages and pages of other useful printables, plans, videos and more.

My children watched some of the Elementary Math videos with me (which appeared to be geared more to Mom or Dad as teacher, but which my children wanted to watch and learn from, too).  They also peered over my shoulder, eagerly asking, 'What's that, Mommy?" and "Can we do that another time?" as I clicked through the site getting to know it.  And, that's  what I love about so far.  It excites our learning, and, if you think of learning as a meal of sorts, the variety of materials offered on the site can provide hearty main courses, effective sides or even worthwhile desserts – all nutritionally dense.  There is just so much brain food there and much of it can be used with flexibility.

A Balanced View

In the few weeks that I have had access to so far, I have visited one part of the site or another daily.  In doing so, I have discovered countless resources that I will use with my children in the year to come as well as a number of resources that we have already been enjoying.  Without question, offers oodles of useful lessons, printables and tools for our homeschool and can do the same for other homeschools with children from preschool to highschool.
My Top 3 Pros
  • Whether you lean toward pre-planned and structured homeschooling or move along with a more unschooly rhythm, provides an affordable option for directing or enhancing learning for everyone in the family.  Core subjects, enrichment topics, even inspiration and support for moms and dads is all included.
  • Through, you can team up with over 30 expert teachers to tailor the home education approach the is right for you and you children.
My Top 3 Cons
  • If you have limited online time or are easily distracted or overwhelmed, you’ll need to discipline yourself when headed to  For even though the site is meant to be “point, click, teach”, it can become “point, click, get lost in browsing layers and layers of potential plans and printables.”  I know that over the past several weeks I was guilty of spending far more time than I intended to spend online clicking through page after page of materials.
  • Although the basics of the site are easy to navigate, it took me quite a while to page through archives of Everyday Games and other lessons and printables that I was interested in.  While I enjoyed doing so, I wished the site had a better way to navigate archived materials and hope a future improvement for the site might include archives that are easily searchable by target age, grade level, subject, topic and resource type.
  • With many great printables and plans, the site could offer temptation to overspend on ink and paper.  I found myself having to hold back on printing too many of the Everyday Games at once, knowing that both our family budge and my children’s focused enjoyment of the games would be better off if I did not click “print” quite as often as I was tempted to do so.
My Bottom line offers A LOT at one low monthly or yearly price. 

After using the site for several weeks, I am confident that I will continue to return to it for lesson inspiration, printables and more in the coming year.  Whether our family is in a season of relaxed schooling where we simply want supplementary materials and printables games, of a more structured one where we want more scope-and-sequence, core-types of materials, I know I can find useful resources at

Want to Try

You can take advantage of an initial month’s subscription to for just $3!  
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After that, it’s $12.95 for each additional month, or 10% off with a yearly membership option, which comes out to the one family, one price of $139 for the year. is also running a “Buy One Get One” special through the end of the month.  So, if you purchase your family a yearly membership in December, you can bless a friend with one at no additional cost, too!

Want to Learn More?

Take a video tour of the site and check out new and upcoming offerings.

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Read what other 70+ other bloggers think about by checking out the links at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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Lori said...

Great job, Martianne! :-)

Michelle said...

Nice review! I love your list of Pros and Cons and hearing about Everyday Games - I didn't "see" those! But, my kids love games. Great job! ~Michelle G. from the Crew.

Anonymous said...

Great review! I didn't realize you were on the Crew. I am too! Looking forward to more of your reviews this year.


Heather said...

Nice job on your review! We love to play board games in our family so I will have to explore Everyday Games and add them to our selection. Thanks for reviewing them!

Heather with Principled Academy/ the TOS Review Crew


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