December 13, 2013 (a review)

I am excited to share with you this first review as part of The Old Schoolhouse Review team! Our first review is over the fabulous resource and website of which I was given a yearly membership option to try out for my family.
curriculum review is a one stop website for online learning. There are daily, weekly and monthly lessons available ALL THE TIME! Yes, you have access to them year round! More than 50 subjects are included on this website from sewing to music to the three 'Rs and MORE! Because this is put together by REAL teachers, you can take advantage of over 30 teachers in the international teacher base in regards to questions about classes and/or content! And there are new classes added and cycling through all the time! I'd like to think of it as a homeschooling online co-op!

Are you a lover of all things Charlotte Mason? There are classes and lessons for you! Not a fan of CM...perhaps more of the classical lesson structure? Not a problem! There are lessons for MANY different styles of homeschooling!

Did I mention free planners that come with your membership? Or Applecore, a safe and secure online record keeping site? And don't forget a free subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! is a treasure trove of goodness for the homeschooling family! The yearly membership option is perfect for the frugal homeschool family, especially when you consider the vastness of homeschooling tools, curriculum and classes included for grade levels Pre-K through high school! That's covering one family for one fee of $139! If you aren't sure you are ready to tackle a year long subscription, there is a monthly subscription option available too! It's just $12.95 per month--and your first month is just $3! That's a great way to "try before you buy" if you want to see all this site has to offer before you make the yearly commitment.

There are so many aspects of this website that I could note and share in detail, but I'm going to share with you the items which appealed to me the most.

As I was exploring (which you MUST do to truly find all the gems hiding) I discovered a great page called "Dailies". There is SOOOOOOOO much to be found on this one page. Each item is clearly separated into subject sections. These items contain work to be done--yes, daily! There is something new for each day of the school week. Some of the subject terms have concluded, but you can always visit the dailies archives and snag anything that you have missed! These are actual LESSONS that you can work on with your children!

Here is a snapshot of what that page looks like:
Click for a closer look
Just look at all the subjects available! Bible, Astronomy, Art, English, History, Math...You can literally plan out an entire days worth of lessons using this page. Yes, a FULL day of subjects! How cool is that?

There was one of these subjects that caught my eye was Everyday Easel...

When I clicked on this I assumed correctly that it was going to be an art lesson...but I didn't realize how comprehensive the art lesson was going to be! Each of these art studies focuses on one piece of artwork by a well-known artist. Over the course of 10 days (two school weeks with 1 lesson a day) the artwork is analyzed through the FULL range of subjects. There are lessons designed for everything from Math to English to History to Economics...each revolving around the highlighted piece of artwork! Because the lessons are short, it would be easy to combine them and spread it out over just one school week.

I went through each of the printable lessons on the latest showcased artwork (Apple Butter Making by Grandma Moses) and picked out subject activities that I thought would interest Little Britches the most. I printed them off and introduced them 2-3 at a time.

We completed the lesson about the artist (did you know she started painting at the "young" age of 70??) and then looked at several of her paintings and (using the dialogue provided in the lesson) talked about her style.

We did the history/geography lesson and "followed the apple trail"...when they started talking about the American Colonies, Little Britches ears perked up as that is the very era we are studying in our history curriculum right now.

Together we completed the math assignment. This one was about a 3rd-5th grade level. I did the writing down and guiding towards the answers for him...but none were so hard he couldn't understand. Most of them he figured out on his own.

Our last activity was to do our own painting--using just a handful of colors and of something representing our kitchen...
He chose a table of food--with blueberries and an apple..and a dog.
After we finished our lesson, he walked over to a painting that my mother-in-law painted and after studying it for a bit declared that she painted in the same style as Grandma Moses...and he's right!
(the light is bad near where the painting is and I can't get a good shot of it to share with you)

Finally, we enjoyed EATING apples and our own homemade apple butter as a treat! The Everyday Easels program is great for carrying one theme along many subject areas.

The other area that I studied from was the section under the tab of "Family". In this tab you can find subjects and activities that are appropriate for the whole family to participate in. I clicked on the "Nature/Outdoors" category. Every month there is a new theme and every week there is a new lesson. There is a lesson for Cold Weather AND Warm Weather Climates.

Here is a snapshot from of this month's lesson introduction:
Click for a closer look
The week we did this lesson our weather was actually warm weather, so we headed outside to make the acquaintance of Lichens and Mosses. It actually started pouring down rain on us, but we kept going!
nature studies

Little Britches enjoyed seeking out the lichens and the moss and learning about where you can expect to find them. We used the lesson plan (printed out and in a plastic sleeve to keep it dry!) to help us identify whether we'd discovered a moss or a lichen. 

I look forward to seeing what the next week's lesson will be and continuing these Nature Studies because they were so simple and the boys enjoyed it very much.

So what do I think about the website

I absolutely see myself making use of this website in regards to supplemental material--but also in the form of unit studies as they fit. I haven't even begun to search the depths of what the website offers as I've not even explored the archives yet!
(Did I mention there are language lessons too???)

I absolutely think that if I wanted to provide my family with the largest range of curriculum for the least amount of cost, I would absolutely take advantage of this membership. How many other places can you have access to the depths of curriculum and classes here covering the full range of grade level and skill for just $139 a year? If I was a family with a limited homeschooling budget I absolutely see myself investing in this resource.

BUT...I do have a few cons...

One of the cons I see, is that several of the classes are "ended" so there won't be any new material. Because it's like a co-op, several classes are specialty ones which are limited to just a few months and are not repeated...HOWEVER, with the lessons going into the archives (which you can still access) it's not a total loss because you still can access most of them.

My other con is simply that all the information and resources and lesson plans are ONLY available online. To use this resource, I'm going to have to spend quite a bit of time going through everything and printing off anything I want to use. I don't always have time to do that.

So the big question...will I continue to use this resource in our homeschooling?

Yes. I absolutely plan on making use of this resource. I easily see areas that I can plug into what we are already doing and unit studies that fit right into our current curriculum. I plan on continuing the Everyday Easel and the Nature Studies as part of our "normal" week.

All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone in the homeschooling community, AND to those who are doing home education with their children "after hours".

If you are considering taking advantage of for your family, make sure you purchase your yearly membership during the month of December! Why? Because with your purchase of a yearly membership in the month of December 2013, you will free 1-year membership to to give to a friend!! Bless another homeschooling family as well as your own and get signed up ASAP!

Want more information? Then check out the other 50+ reviews from The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew to see what else has to offer!
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1 comment:

Erin D said...

Thanks so much for your kind words about my Nature Study/Outdoors classes! I'm really happy that you enjoyed them. I love the site and I'm delighted to be a part of it.