Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Finding a Homeschool Course for Everyone: A Review of SchoolhouseTeachers.com

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.

Finding a Homeschool Course for Everyone: A Review of SchoolhouseTeachers.com; background photo of colored pencils; SchoolhouseTeachers.com Logo and A Mom's Quest to Teach Logo

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Every Subject. Every Grade. Every Student.

When our family unanimously decided that we would start homeschooling our teenager beginning with his 10th-grade year, we needed a place to find as many courses as possible to fulfill his scholastic requirements. We were fortunate to receive access to SchoolhouseTeachers.com upon my writing several courses for them as well as when I became a part of the Homeschool Review Crew in 2018. Using the Ultimate PreK-12th Annual Membership enables us to homeschool not only our teenager but also to find courses and supplemental materials for our two younger children. In this review, I would like to focus on several different aspects of SchoolhouseTeachers.com:

  • How you can fill your high school student's homeschool schedule using SchoolhouseTeachers.com exclusively
  • How the Lesson Plans can help you easily schedule your homeschool day – especially if you use the digital planner available via the website
  • How we supplement our homeschool day using the Video Library
  • The resources available in the Focused Learning Centers especially those available to help you homeschool your high school students

Flexibility is the Key to Success!

With so many courses available across grades Pre-K to 12th, we have a variety of options open to our homeschooling family. I could spend post after post discussing all the great courses at SchoolhouseTeachers.com (in fact, I have shared information regarding some of the fantastic courses in prior posts including two reviews: one in 2018 and one in 2019).

If you have a membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the first step I would recommend is watching the tutorial videos available. Then I would recommend taking a look at the planners and schedule builders to help you organize the many courses that your children can take through SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Another great way to plan your homeschool year is to browse the courses by either grade or subject. Then you can look at specific courses and bookmark them.

11th grade course selection on SchoolhouseTeachers.com by subject areas.
If you pick a grade, you will see the subject areas separated. Each will then link you to several courses that can meet the needs of that specific grade (in this case, 11th grade).

Planning Our Teen's 11th Grade Year

During the summer, I went through classes I had previously bookmarked for our teen on SchoolhouseTeachers.com that we did not use for 2018-2019. From there, I looked at what subjects he still needed credits in and browsed the different subject areas looking for courses that would fit our homeschool. With so many options, it would be very easy for me to overfill his homeschooling schedule!

Once I picked out his core classes and electives, I used both the "Hey, Mama! Schoolhouse Planner for 2019-2020" and the "2019-2020 Schoolhouse Planner" which is digital to plan out the school year. I love using a mix of both because—with the digital planner—I can make edits very easily and print out the pages I need for our son. (There is even a High School Schoolhouse Planner that you can print for your teen if you wish them to track everything themselves.)

cover of Schoolhouse Planner 2019-2020 from SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Since our teen has an interest in pursuing photography as a career, he is taking Photography by lesson designer Michele Peterson. It is a 30-week, text-based course that can be assigned two days a week where students will learn how to use their camera including all of the special features of a camera with manual exposure settings. I love that our teen can take an elective that will help him develop the skills he might need for his future career path.

photo of palm, lantern, and sun setting through the window
I love how he captured the setting sun in this photograph.

Another course we are using is Christian Values in J.R.R. Tolkien which is an advanced course for 11th-12th graders. One of the key details I like about this course is that it includes 2 short papers and one longer research paper that will allow us to help our teen become a more skilled researcher and writer of essays and papers. There are several books to which students need access in order to complete this course but—like most of the courses on SchoolhouseTeachers.com—the majority of the materials are available online through PDFs or through World Book Online. So, there is not too much outside prep work needed on the part of the parent.

Some of the other courses that are available to fill out an 11th grader's homeschool year include:

  • World History 
  • Apologetics: Creation vs. Evolution 
  • Spelling High School Year One 
  • Algebra II 
  • American History: From Columbus to 1914 with Socratic Discussion 
  • Friendly Chemistry 
  • Botany
We have not started his Botany course yet but I am very excited by the materials when I was putting together his schedule for the rest of January. Looks like all three of our children will be able to join in on some of the lessons and experiments.

Using the Lesson Plans

This year I took a different approach to our son's homeschool schedule. I printed more of the Lesson Plans that are available rather than reinventing the wheel myself. In some cases, I copied and pasted the instructions from the Lesson Plans into the digital planner.

For the Lesson Plans that I printed out, I was able to highlight important tasks, make notes and adjustments, and add the dates I wished him to work on certain assignments. The suggested Lesson Plans give you the class length, schedule, resources needed, instructions, a place to check off lessons as they are completed, and week-by-week and day-by-day instructions and information for your children.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Lesson Plan for They Lived for God
The first page of the lesson plans provides you with all the necessary information for the entire course.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Lesson Plan week 3 for Tolkien
Each week lists daily assignments and I can write down the dates in the appropriate space.

I admit to not really utilizing the Lesson Plans with our younger children. For the most part, we are taking a relaxed approach with our preschooler and first grader this year. For the two lapbooks we created, I did take a look at the Lesson Plans as we did not follow them exactly since we were doing them more quickly. As they get older, I know that I will rely more heavily upon the Lesson Plans.


Just to show you that there really are classes for every subject, every grade, and every student, I want to share a bit about the history course we are using with our first grader (and of course our preschooler is joining in for some of the activities, too). "Hands-On Notebooking: The United States" is written for grades K - 2nd and provides 50 lessons, one for each state. Our homeschooling first grader is learning about each of the 50 states in alphabetical order. We read about famous people or groups of people from each state, sometimes create art projects, and learn about the state symbols.

Hands-On Notebooking The United States Logo from SchoolhouseTeachers.com

While reading about California, we talked about the state flag and examined bridges. Different states have different activities but they all have a spot to study a famous person or group of people from the state as well as a sheet to keep track of books read.

Completing famous person page for state of California worksheet

Bridge experiment instruction sheet and examples of different types of paper to build a bridge across two paper cups
This was such a fun experiment to talk about bridges.

While I am working on different homeschooling tasks with our older children, I can peruse the Holiday and Seasonal Resource Center to find activities for our preschooler. The resources are organized in a manner that makes lessons, videos, and worksheets very easy to find. And with two of the activities I found, our first grader and our preschooler can work on the lapbooks together.

During the fall, we read The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter using a Unit Study on SchoolhouseTeachers.com and colored in pictures related to Thanksgiving. There are activities for one week and you can download a copy of the story because The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin is in the public domain. The copy of the story you can download also has the vocabulary words in bold and contains some notes on the side to share with your children.

Links needed for Lapbooking from SchoolhouseTeachers.com
Everything is laid out on the site – very easy to navigate.
Peter Rabbit Giant Treasury book cover with Some Food that Red Squirrels Eat lapbook activity
Our daughter had great fun cutting out the pieces and coloring them in for the lapbook. 

We also read Christmas in the Barn by F. Arnstein from the book In the Child's World by Emilie Poulssen which is also in the public domain. This lapbooking Unit Study can be taught over the course of two weeks. Per the lesson plan, you can download it for your homeschool. I like the fact that I was able to print some of the activities twice for both our younger children to complete. For those that are better suited for just our first grader, I printed one copy and we were able to work on them together. For example, our son wrote two similes after we discussed the simile from the story in which the cat was "curled up like a little bundle of wool."

lapbook activity for A Christmas in the Barn
Both kids working on the first activity. 

Two lapbook activities for A Christmas in the Barn - illustration of a Christmas tree for Johnny's Animals
Our daughter's lapbook.

lapbook activities for A Christmas in the Barn - If I Had My Own Christmas Tree

Simile activity from A Christmas in the Barn from SchoolhouseTeachers.com
Our son's similes in his completed lapbook.

Video Library

There is an excellent collection of videos available with your membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com with the Ultimate Pre-K to 12th Annual Membership. While the videos are part of many different courses, you can find them all in one place – the Video Library – which categorizes the videos by

    logo for courses From Aardvark to Zucchini and Friendly Chemistry plus SchoolhouseTeachers.com logo
  • Kids
  • Art
  • Apologetics 
  • Bible 
  • Electives 
  • Foreign Languages 
  • Geography 
  • History 
  • Language Arts 
  • Math
  • Marriage
  • Missions and Persecution
  • Music 
  • Parents
  • Science
  • Video Courses on SchoolhouseTeachers.com 
  • Christmas
  • Easter 

Some of the videos and series that our children and I enjoy include:

  • Adventures of Donkey Ollie
  • From Aardvark to Zucchini 
  • Drive Thru History 
  • The videos that go along with the course They Lived For God 
  • The videos that go along with the course Foundations for Teens which our son took last year 
We have watched the series From Aardvark to Zucchini more than once during our lunchtime. They make for a nice break from our homeschooling day while still providing lessons for our younger children.

Focused Learning Centers

There are many resources available in the Focused Learning Centers including Focus on Math, Help with Reading, and Focus on Special Needs, to name a few. I am very happy that there are many resources available to us as we homeschool a high school student. There are 6 eBooks available to members of SchoolhouseTeachers.com which can help prepare parents of high school students as well as information for academic weighting of courses for transcripts, the use of Applecore Recordkeeping System, and a career center.

If you are in need of inspiration, the Focus Learning Center: Focus on High School and College offers such titles as Homeschooling the High Schooler: From Transcripts to Graduation which provides readers with advice and resources from a variety of authors. If you are worried about dual enrollment or how you can include extracurricular activities in your child's transcripts, you can sit down with a cup of coffee and read through this useful eBook. One can also find help with career training, the various paths that your child can take to go to college, and advice from one whose child attended college.

screenshot of 6 eBooks available to help homeschool teens
With video tutorials to help you use the materials and resources—plus helpful tools, you will find many ways to succeed on your homeschooling journey with your children.

In the Career Center, SchoolhouseTeachers.com pulled together some key classes and categorized them into how they can suit several different careers. For example, if your child is interested in an art-related career, SchoolhouseTeachers.com offers at least five specific courses for high schoolers and many other art courses as well. As our teen is interested in photography, he has taken one of the courses listed (Image Creation and Editing) and is currently taking Photography.

I think the Career Center would be a great place for your high school child to peruse to help figure out their homeschooling schedule. If they know what careers they are interested in, then they can help look for a science or math course or an elective that might fit their needs.

My Final Thoughts 

I truly feel our family has been blessed with becoming a member of SchoolhouseTeachers.com. From being able to homeschool our children quite easily using the many courses and other resources on the site to finding a unique family of fellow blogging homeschoolers via the Homeschool Review Crew, I feel we are successfully moving forward as a homeschooling family. There is truly a course for everyone at SchoolhouseTeachers.com and I would recommend every homeschooling family takes a look at this great curriculum.

Do You Want to Learn More About SchoolhouseTeachers.com? 

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I was only one of many members of the Homeschool Review Crew that reviewed the Ultimate PreK - 12th Annual Membership. Please be sure to check out the other reviews!

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Every Subject. Every Grade. Every Student. 

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! It looks like you found some really awesome classes on SchoolhouseTeacher. I'm going to check out some of these that you mentioned here. The Christian Values in Tolkein sounds interesting.