Thursday, January 14, 2021

New Beginnings

I've been a bit busy here on the homefront, between starting back up school following the holidays to my husband going TDY temporarily for his military.  But the biggest change is we are in moving mode.  After 11 years in the desert of California, we finally got orders for another base. But not only that, but it's short notice orders.. Typically the military gives you a good 9 months warning as to where you are going.  We have 4 and one of those months is halfway over.  

I wish I could say we were going somewhere exciting.  I would love to have heard we were going to Alaska or someplace overseas like England. Instead, we are leaving one desert to go to another desert in New Mexico. I guess God needs me in the desert, only he's changing the local. Not sure if that's because our growth has become stagnant here and he's changing things up to wake us up, or because he feels we are needed somewhere else.  However, it's closer to family and friends in both Texas and Colorado, so we'll actually be able to visit those we haven't seen in many years.

 It's somewhat bittersweet - for years I hated it here and prayed for orders to somewhere else.  Just in the last couple of years, I accepted this was home and came to terms with it. I started reaching out, making friends and coming out of my comfort zone.  I started going to the chapel on base and eventually I became the Women's Lay Leader and leading the Woman's Bible studies. We joined a small group study for married couples and made great friends there as well.  And then just like that, we find ourselves dreading saying goodbye and starting over somewhere new.  I find myself regretting now getting out and seeing more of this state - either because of time or money - and now with Covid restrictions, I won't have the opportunity to visit those things before we go.

The kids are excited, for the most part.  The idea of a new house, new rooms, and new friends are all enticing to them.  The homeschool laws in New Mexico are pretty similar to what we've already been doing here, so I'm grateful that their education will continue with little change.  We had a small hickup as Garrett was asking about thunderstorms in New Mexico and when we looked up the weather, he saw that they have on average 10 tornadoes a year (for the whole state, not limited to where we are going).  That created a bit of hesitation on his part, until we googled the amount of tornadoes here in California as well as other states.  That seemed to alleviate his fears as it hasn't been brought up again.  

So now, between homeschool, leading Bible study, our small group, my husband's work, writing curriculum reviews and any other normal activities that have to continue here, we have begun the processes of sorting through ten years of accumulated possessions and begin to downsize what we don't need to bring with us.  You don't realize how much you have til you have to move and discard things. It also allows you the opportunity to realize how absolutely blessed you are when you think that some people move everything they own in a trash bag.  I also have to figure out how to move 900 miles with a dog, a cat, two rabbits, two turtles and a frog. Sadly, we will probably have to rehome our two Oscar fish as I don't think they would make the trip safely. 

Needless to say, 2021 is definitely going to be a huge change for us all.  The kids have no memories outside of this house and my husband and I have spent most of our marriage together here. But God willing, we will move and begin to make many other wonderful memories.  Home is truly where the heart is

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

SchoolhouseTeachers.com (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew.

I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. 

Over the years of being a reviewer, I have had the opportunity to test a wide variety of various curriculum choices.  Many of them I use for the review period but eventually, they call to the way side as I either get my hands on a different product that I works better for our family.  However, there's a few products I use regularly in my homeschool through the years.  One such program is SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  Members of the Review Crew were given the opportunity to review the Ultimate PreK-12 Annual Membership with their families over the holidays. 


SchoolhouseTeachers.com is the curriculum/education aspect of The Old Schoolhouse family.  For a low yearly price, homeschool families have a wide range of curriculum options for grades K-12, with more than 400 self-paced online courses, and numerous teaching resources all included in the yearly membership.  Classes are all inclusive so you aren't going to have to buy textbooks to teach the courses, just download the lessons and you're all set.



Membership price allows access to all available courses and offers a core subject for every subject for every grade, making it a full curriculum website that allows families to teach all students in their home, regardless of age and grade.   Membership also allows unlimited access to recipes, household planning resources, RightNow Media, a Silver plan level account with Applecore for homeschool record keeping and much much more, all at one low yearly price.

With more than 400 classes to choose from, your first experience with the website can be much like being a kid in the candy store, with so much curriculum options, it can be a bit overwheming.  To help eliminate this problem and to make things much easier in selecting courses and piece together a full curriculum for your student, SchoolhouseTeachers.com offers a downloadable Scope and Sequence for each grade level.  These Scope and Sequence files are a great place to start with SchoolhouseTeachers.com and can be found under the planning tab on the website.


By selecting either the grade level or the subject you wish to teach, the Scope and Sequence feature will suggest courses that are found on the SchoolhouseTeachers.com website that will fulfill the academic goals for that level.  It also makes suggestions for class future planning.


Please note: SchoolhouseTeachers.com does not align with any particular set of regulations or guidelines. Each family must research their state's guideline and requirements to ensure they meet those guidelines.

Another section that I personally enjoy using is the quick links section.  This shows all the classes available on SchoolhouseTeachers.com, listed by subject.  This portion will also note new classes that have been added to the website recently to make it easy to find those and read more about the class.  From the quick links, you can go directly to the class information.  


After finding a course that looks interesting, simply click the link and you will be brought to the course information page.  This page will tell you the length of the course, if it's text based or video based, and what grade the course is suitable for.  From here you can also learn who wrote the course and what expertise they have in teaching that course.


Banners for Getting started, Course Outline, Course Sample and More about the Course provide a quick popup the provide more information about the course.  This information is available without having a membership to help you learn more about what is included in the course module.


Members have access to the actual class materials.  All classes include the text material needed for the course as well as a printable lesson plan.

The lesson plans are extremely helpful.  These PDF files can easily be printed out and kept in a planning notebook, making planning for and teaching each day's coursework as simple as following the list.  The first page of the Lesson Plan gives a quick summary of the course and what material is needed while the rest of the planner breaks the course down day by day. A section is also provided for jotting down notes as needed.



Also included with your membership, SchoolhouseTeachers.com also offers their members access to hundreds of streaming videos from providers including Creation.com, Drive Thru History, Vision Video, Discovery House, Boat Angel, City on a Hill, RightNow Media, and more.  Some of these videos are included with their coursework however, some videos that are included are not necessarily educational based. For example, through their partnership with RightNow Media, members have access to a vast library of Bible based marriage studies, parenting studies and more.

A very few of the video selections available on SchoolhouseTeachers.com

However, maybe you want everything already laid out for you for the year and really don't feel like browsing thru multiple math and science class descriptions to find out what's appropriate for your 6th grade student.  SchoolhouseTeachers.com created the School Boxes (Curriculum Boxes) with you in mind.  Each Curriculum Box is complete with all the curriculum guides and resources you need to successfully teach a full year of the selected grade skills and is automatically available as part of membership in SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  These curriculum boxes are sets of grade specific online materials, including downloadable PDF files, streaming videos and other resources used for a full year of study, specific to grade level.

 Included in each box is a curriculum guide for each subject that correlates objectives found in the corresponding scope and sequence for the grade, weekly and daily checklists to stay on track, direct links to each of the courses and resources you need for each week, all the additional suggested materials for the year (such as art supplies) for planning ahead,  and links to additional resources from SchoolhouseTeachers.com for those who would like to spend a bit more time on a particular topic studied.  These box curriculum are available for all grades, Kindergarten through Twelfth.


 So, now that you have at least an idea for what SchoolhouseTeachers.com is, let me tell you how my family has been using it. 

How We Used It During the Review Period

This review period began during our three week winter break, when we were not doing actual school courses.  However, that didn't mean that there wasn't plenty of things we could use during our off time.  SchoolhouseTeachers.com has several collections of holiday themed activities and work for a large list of holidays, especially Christmas, so we pulled a number of activities from there to work with. 

 One of these lessons came from the Introduction to Architecture course offered on the sight and went into the history and design of gingerbread houses.  In our years of celebrating the holidays, we had never made gingerbread houses together, so I thought this would be a really fun way to both educate and have family time together.   After completing the quick lesson from the website, we then designed our own houses.




 Ours might not have been quite as pretty as the professional houses from our lessons, but it was a great activity to spend time together and have a bit of fun. 

The next activity we decided to work on was one of the Art Achieve holiday themed lessons.  These lessons offer step by step instruction to complete your own version of the focused artwork.  We decided to do the nutcracker lesson. The lesson offered both a video instruction as well as a slideshow version of the instruction that walks through the project.   Again, this turned out to be a really great family project that we did together (although sadly I neglected to take photographs) but even Garrett enjoyed completing this with us (he normally hates art) and it had an impact on him. I guess the process of breaking each step down worked well for him because he asked me yesterday during our school time if we could do more art work like that.  So that's a win.

Something that has become a yearly tradition for us since we first discovered it on SchoolhouseTeachers.com is watching The Christmas Experience, which is a 6 part series offered thru the website.  We include this as part of our Advent time together during the 6 days leading up to Christmas day.  These videos follow the story of Mary and Joseph both leading up to as well as during the birth of Christ and the events following his birth with the Shepherds and Wise Men.


 Each night, we watched one video before lighting our candles and doing our Bible reading for the day.  This was a great way for us to really focus on the meaning of the holiday season and put the focus on Christ rather than on the secular.   In addition to The Christmas Experience, we also accessed the RightNow Media material for a 4 part Advent study that we did each Sunday that helped explain the meaning behind each candle and what it represented to us as a Christian family.
 
SchoolhouseTeachers.com also offers a large collection of publications from The Old Schoolhouse that are available for download. Two of the available publications focus on the holidays and offer a wide variety of interesting stories, poetry, craft ideas, and recipes and more.  We utilized these publications and had a blast making a few new deserts (Peppermint Cocoa was an absolute hit in this house) and reading about the holiday experiences of other members of The Old Schoolhouse family.
 

 

Over the course of the years I've been a member of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, I've used a large variety of course work from the site.  From math remediation, music lessons, the video library and more, SchoolhouseTeachers.com has really become my Go-to for looking for curriculum before I actually purchase anything.  We've found many wonderful courses and resources on the website and each year that I have had access to the site has been a true blessing for my family. Because SchoolhouseTeachers.com gives you full access to everything they offer, you can mix and match stuff together to create a curriculum that works well for your family. There are daily activities such as writing prompts, 5 and 10 day unit studies based on famous works of art, short read aloud plays for students to read and act out together, and so much more that we have used. It really is a full curriculum option that you can easily customize your own education for grades K-12th.


But the website offers so much more than just curriculum and education. I mentioned that I tend to use SchoolhouseTeachers for my everyday household management.  One of the most useful things I have discovered is using a second copy of the planners offered on the website (another perk to membership) and use it for menu planning.  I save it to a different area under a different name (I simply save the file as MealPlanner so as to not overwrite my lesson planning file) and it makes it super easy for me to sit down, plan out my meals and be able to actually see them over the course of the 2 weeks I plan for.


I have been doing this for a good three years now and can easily go back and remind myself of recipes that the family really enjoyed that I might otherwise forget.  And if you're in need of recipe ideas for the week, SchoolhouseTeachers.com offers a monthly list of suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and deserts for each day of the month.  These recipes are submitted by other members of The Old Schoolhouse family and are an easy way to try new things and maybe find a new favorite for your own family. There's also a gluten free and vegan section for those families who have dietary restrictions.



And it would be a disservice if I failed to mention the various other resources for parents. From ideas for family nights spent together, organizing your home, or even providing daily encouragement for the homeschool mom, there is an entire section dedicated to courses and resources just for you.  The Parent EBook Library offers a large collection of Ebooks published by The Old Schoolhouse, many of which are typically sold on their website but is free for your reading with your membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com. These publications range from homeschooling, daily devotionals, gardening, cleaning tips, budgeting, and more.  They are all included with your membership and are easy to download to your computer or even a tablet or e-reader, making great reading material for when you're sitting in a doctors office or waiting in your car to pick up a family member.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com has been a blessing to our family and I know you'll find it to be a blessing to your family as well.


#hsreviews #schoolhouseteachers #homechool #onlineclasses #allinonecurriculum #homeschoolonline #homeschoolcurriculum #onlineteaching #digitallearning


For more information about SchoolhouseTeachers.com, please visit their website. You can also find them on them on the following social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SchoolhouseTeachers/ and https://www.facebook.com/SchoolhouseTeachers
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TOSMag/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tosmagazine/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tosmag/   
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7i0BRyoTPYT3chTcj52UmA

Members of the Crew were each given the opportunity to review SchoolhouseTeachers.com with their families.  Be sure to click the banner below to read more reviews and see what classes and resources they used with their families.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com - Every Subject - Every Grade - Every Student {SchoolhouseTeachers.com Reviews 2021}

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