Thursday, October 29, 2009


Lima beans.  I knew I didn't like them.  I avoided them at all costs.  Wouldn't purchase them, wouldn't order anything with lima beans in it.  And one day, somewhere, I was served lima beans.  And of course, it turned out that I think lima beans are really good.  They may be my favorite bean in fact.  And I wouldn't have ever known that had someone not forced me to try them just to be polite.

That's a lot like some of my experiences as part of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.  One such dish is  I looked at it, and knew that we simply don't school that way.  We don't use a lot of worksheets.  It looked like a lot of busywork.  I knew I didn't like it, and certainly wasn't going to try it.

Except I was chosen to review the site, so I had to.  And, like those lima beans, it turns out that I really do see the value in their website.

So what is it?  A subscription based site, though they have plenty of free stuff too, that advertises that they have over 35,000 pages of worksheets and activities available to members. An individual membership is priced at $40 per year, with discounts available for purchasing two years, or as part of a group.  That works out to something just over $3 per month.  In my free month, I easily got that much out of it.

They have thousands of worksheets, and worksheet generators, in all kinds of categories, for kids up through middle school.  It is definitely skewed towards the younger ages, but there is some good content for young teens.

My favorite item of all is the handwriting worksheet generators.  I was able to easily put in my own text and create copywork for my kids in Handwriting Without Tears font, with their 2 line paper.  Oh, that feature alone is worth the price of membership.  I would generate a sheet for William, print it, then make the font a bit bigger and maybe delete a sentence and print it for Thomas.  Then I could cut it some more, make it even larger, and even make dashed lines for Richard to trace.  Wow...

But wait, there's more!  William was working on some scouting activity badges, and I was able to print up a bunch of great information about baseball that we could use towards his Sportsman badge.  There was a little set of worksheets for creating a home fire escape plan that was just perfect for another requirement.  There were more too -- I found things for pretty much anything I looked for with scouting.

I found similar things for Thomas and his scout requirements.  I could locate little stories or worksheets that helped me to cover all kinds of different things, like some great worksheets on various tall tales.

For Connor, I was able to print up some fallacy posters to go with what he's learning in Fallacy Detective.  I created some Sudoku puzzles for him.  I printed off some logic puzzles.

And another great aspect was creating my own BINGO games using the vocabulary we are learning in our roots program.  My kids loved this.  You can create BINGO games for anything... math facts, phonics, foreign language study, history dates, whatever.

I didn't really use them, but you can also create crossword puzzles and word searches, which would also be excellent for reviewing vocabulary especially.

For the younger kids, well, I didn't do much.  However, there were a couple things that really excited me.  One was that they have a whole bunch of flashcards available.  Now, I don't "do" flashcards as such.  But with printable flashcards, you could easily print up a couple sets and use them to play memory, go fish, Old Maid, or various other games.  I love, love, love being able to do things like that.

And of course, they have gazillions of coloring pages and all the little fill in the blank worksheet things I expected.  They have reading comprehension activities, little booklets to read, math worksheets, etc.  And not all of it is in English -- French, German and Spanish materials are available as well, including fables, cultural information, biographies, games, etc.

They have materials for "themes" or basically unit studies.  For Veteran's Day, for instance, you can read about the holiday, or about the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.  You can do a few activities based on the poem In Flanders Fields.  There are forms you can use to do research.

All in all, I was incredibly impressed.  Yes, there is a lot of stuff I just wouldn't use in my homeschool.  But there is also a lot of stuff that really came in handy for covering things like the rules of soccer, or what to consider when making a fire escape plan.

I am saving up the money to purchase a one-year subscription.  I'll get my $3 something per month out of it just by being able to easily create copywork.  Go ahead, cruise on over and check them out.  There is a lot of free content.  But it was when I was able to get at the members only materials that I was able to see the value in this site.

And you can check out what my fellow crewmates have to say about abcteach at:

Any questions? I'd love to know what you would want to know in deciding whether or not this is something you want to purchase.

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive one month of membership for free, and a discount offer to purchase a one year subscription from  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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