We moved to Northern Califonia back in 2002. I only had 2 kids back then, with one on the way. We had just finished our first year of homeschooling surrounded by several veteran homeschooling families, and now we were off on our own. A new friend from church told me about an upcoming homeschooling activity (Bruce Larson from Sequoia Ministries was speaking to the kids) and asked if we would like to join along.
On one of Bruce’s tables were some homeschooling magazines that he was giving away to anyone who wanted one. Being new to homeschooling, I picked out a couple of them and brought them home to devour. I didn’t even mind that there were no color pictures and only about 30 pages long.
The next year I attended the annual bay area homeschooling convention in Santa Clara, CA. While there I met one of the nicest ladies (Jen Igarashi) and she said told me about a magazine she wrote for. She said that they had just finished publishing their first full length color magazine and it even had an interview with Mel Gibson in it. I realized that this was the same magazine I had been reading and quickly signed up for a yearly subscription. And so began my journey with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
Over the years, I have so enjoyed reading The Old Schoolhouse and I must admit I was highly disappointed when they decided to stop printing their magazine and go to a digital only version (I am a paper-in-hand reader). I recently discovered a new site they have launched called Schoolhouse Teachers. Let me tell you, this site is a powerhouse for the homeschooling family. There is so much there and honestly I just don’t know where to even begin (this may be a loooong review!). So I guess I will touch on some of my favorite areas and hope that I do the site justice.
This is the heart of the website and really such a blessing. Schoolhouse Teachers are men and women who have a passion and a deep knowledge about a specific topic, who have agreed to pour out their passion and knowledge to help families learn about things they may not have to opportunity to learn about. For instance, my son is an aspiring film-maker. I have not found many opportunities for him to learn about film-making (other than sifting through film-making sites, which may contain objectionable material).
The film-making class on Schoolhouse Teachers is taught by George Escobar who is a director, producer, writer, and co-founder of Advent Film Group. He has over 25 years of film-making experience, having worked for big names such as the Discovery Channel and Time Warner. The best part though, is that he loves the Lord and he teaches film-making with a Christian worldview. I am so grateful that he would expend his time and energy to teach young adults such valuable skills. It just makes my heart sing to be given this opportunity!
Mr. Escobar started off his class in June (don’t worry though, the class is self-paced so you can start anytime) with several introductory videos. The videos in July and August have become more in-depth. There are also assignments given to the student to help further their learning as well as become familiar with several great resources.
And film-making is only one of many classes that are offered at Schoolhouse Teachers. At the moment there are classes in home economics, lapbooking, high school math, geography, history, and lots more (but a little bird told me there are about to be lots more classes coming up in the next month or so ; ) So if you are looking for some extracurricular classes (or even some basic classes that you need to cover), this is a great opportunity to learn some new things.
I had seen the schoolhouse planners on The Old Schoolhouse website, but hadn’t paid much attention to them because of the price. When I was asked to do this review, I was shocked to find that if you sign up to be a member of the Schoolhouse Teachers, you can download the schoolhouse planners for free! And not only the big main planner, but any of the five planners available (schoolhouse planner, special learners planner, primary, intermediate, and high school planners).
These planners are not just a calendar for homeschooling moms, they are a resource in themselves. The “Big Mama” as it is called, contains over 800 pages! There are articles from many homeschool veterans. There are tons of forms that you can customize to meet your own needs. The calendars are interactive so that you can type in your information and change it up as you need to. There are tons of “lists” at your fingertips to help with memorization. I haven’t done my planning for next year, so next week I am going to be printing out the pages I need and getting started. In fact, the younger kids will be at VBS, so it will be a perfect time to sit down with my planner and plan.
I am not quite sure how I am going to use the primary planners. Hannah is just starting to read proficiently, but she does like having a checklist and keeping track of her own work. Maddie will be in the 5th grade, so I am sure she will love having her own planner. I am thinking about buying the small 5 x 8 inch notebooks and printing their planners smaller to fit it, then making a notebook cover for it. We’ll see how much I get done next week!
The Schoolhouse Teachers is only $1.00 for the first month (so you can try it out and see how you like it), then $5.95 a month thereafter. You have access to all the classes, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and the back issues, the schoolhouse planners, e-books, recorded expo-to-go sessions, and tons of other goodies. Or you can purchase a one year membership for $64.26 and save 10%.